Middle East – With senior managers in the Middle East set to receive an average of 5.7% pay rise this year, companies are pressuring headhunters to hire only the cream of the crop.
According to the Pulse Survey of 406 companies released by Mercer in Dubai, respondents in Pakistan are the most generous paymasters regionally with employers willing to give 13.5% salary increments. Executives in Bahrain will earn a 6% pay rise while those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will receive a 5% increment. Qatari executives have the lowest predicted pay rise at 4%.
Across industries, those in the consumer and high-tech industries will have higher salary increases while financial services and energy companies have the lowest. Only one in 10 Middle Eastern employers will maintain their salary freeze.
Oxana Nagy, senior associate at Mercer in Dubai said local managerial talent is considered a scarce resource in the Gulf region. Hence, staff development and attractive compensation are becoming a key retention strategy.
“Companies typically don’t offer retirement packages, [and] expatriate staff view employment in this region as short term, so there is a pressing need to train and develop local staff,” Nagy said.
“Companies are also increasingly reliant on using non-financial forms of reward to motivate and retain their employees.”
Recruitment firms in the UAE are under further pressure to hire the best as companies learned a harsh lesson from the recession. A study by Gulf Talent said, “Employers are keen to avoid a repetition of reckless recruitment drives seen during the boom years.”
Headhunters told Emirates 24|7 that employers are taking a longer time to decide on the right candidate, compared to the period before economic crisis four years ago.
Konstantina Sakellariou, partner at Stanton Chase, said, “Employers have become more careful in assessing the candidates, looking really for the ‘right fit’, and of course this takes more time.”
An HR manager of a bank, who declined to be named, said, “Moreover, the probationary period is taken seriously now. It’s not like before when everyone would be confirmed after completing three months."
Gulf Talent added that many companies have added adding psychometric testing and background checks on all potential new hires to enhance their recruitment process.
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