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65% of UAE workers expect a salary increase in 2019, says new survey

DUBAI (Agencies): The majority of employees in the country are now expecting a bump in their monthly incomes this year, following a year of no wage adjustments in 2018.

That’s according to the results of the latest survey among more than 1,200 residents in UAE.

Among those polled, 65 per cent confirmed they did not get any increments in the past 12 months. However, the same number said it’s about time their companies reward their patience and loyalty after having endured a long period of income stagnation, hence they expect a salary raise in 2019.

The overall sentiment indicates that UAE consumers are now getting more confident about the general state of the local economy. In fact, 37 per cent of them feel more secure in their jobs, compared to just 32 per cent who shared the same view in September 2018.

“UAE residents clearly feel that now is their time,” said Jonathan Rawling, chief financial officer of comparison site yallacompare, which conducted the study.

“They had to go without salary increases in 2018 and the survey data shows that many struggled as a result. They now expect their patience and loyalty to be rewarded.”

Workers’ salary expectations this year seem to have echoed the sentiment shared by hiring experts earlier this month. Korn Ferry reported that salaries could climb between four per cent and 12 per cent in sectors like transportation, food and events.

As employers put on hold salary increases last year, many workers were unable to send money home as often as they used to.

According to yallacompare’s survey, the number of people in the UAE who remitted money regularly dropped from 88 per cent in September 2018 to 84 per cent in December 2018.

Those that were able to afford sending extra money, however, seemed to have cut back on remittances. Last September 2018, about four in ten (40 per cent) said they forwarded Dh1,000 to Dh1,999 per month to their home country. By the last quarter of the year, the figure had fallen to 33 per cent.

The number of people who remit in smaller amounts, between Dh500 and Dh999 per month, however, increased from 24 per cent to 29 per cent. Business conditions in Dubai had bounced back in November before dipping again in December, according to Emirates NBD’s Economy Tracker Index.

However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the UAE economy will strengthen over the next few years on the back of higher oil prices and government spending.

“Overall growth is projected to strengthen to 2.9 per cent this year and 3.7 per cent next year,” Natalie Tamirisa of IMF said in October.

2018 also saw companies still hiring, with more than 60,000 people recruited across the UAE between June 2017 and June 2018, according to the figures released by the country’s central bank.

With the additional jobs, the number of employed residents in the UAE increased from 4.9 million to 5 million during the same period.