Employees in the Middle East can expect a healthy pay rise this year, as business confidence and development remains stable in the region.

Salary increments are expected to hover between 5% and 5.4% in 2013, a survey by Mercer found.

“Estimations for inflation are lower than this figure, which means the predicted increases will result in a real pay growth for the working population – a clear reflection of development in the region,” the survey reported.

According to GulfNews, employees in Kuwait will see the highest salary growth at 5.4%, followed by Qatar (5.2%), Oman (5.1%), Bahrain (5%) and the UAE (5%).

“These figures have remained relatively unchanged over the last couple of years, a sign of the region relative economic stability and mature business environment,” Zaid Kamhawi, Middle East business leader for information product solutions at Mercer, told GulfNews.

The survey also found 60% of companies were looking at increasing their headcount in the last quarter of 2012, while 70% are hoping to hire this year.

Employees in neighbouring Africa can also expect good tidings this year, as salary increments are anticipated to hit 8% this year.

“The Middle East and Africa has the largest variation in forecast pay increases due to the diverse nature of the region,” the survey reported.

Companies in Morocco (4.9%), Tunisia (5.3%) and Algeria (6.8%) are predicting high pay increases to employees compared to those in Western Europe, while employees in Egypt and South Africa are anticipated to receive 10% and 7%, respectively.