Irshad Salim — Saudi Arabia continues to lead the Middle East region in salary increases while actual salary increases this year in the MENA region are highest for Life Sciences (5.1%), according to a survey of 600 multinational companies and locally-owned conglomerates.
The survey– the largest study of its kind in the Gulf region, and conducted by Aon Hewitt Middle East, a leading global professional services firm, shows the Kingdom is leading the way with 4.4% salary increase, followed closely by 4.3% in UAE and Kuwait despite a slow economy and low oil prices.
Robert Richter, GCC Compensation Survey Manager at Aon, told Zawya: Despite lower than projected salary increases this year, there is optimism in the region over Saudi Vision 2030 and UAE’s Expo 2020 with the potential for thriving new industries and a significant level of job creation in the region as a whole.
“With the stabilization of oil prices, we can also expect the economy to stabilize and strengthen in the coming years.”
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have embarked on transforming their economies towards non-oil with particular emphasis on renewables and local manufacturing dovetailing fiscal reforms and a massive privatization program.
“Employers however choose to remain conservative in the projected salary increase of 2018, but we may witness an upside in the actual salary increase,” Richter added, while highlighting improving economic situation as a result of increased government spending, stabilized oil prices, and the effects of economic transformation programs.
According to reports, a total of 816 new factories and industrial plants, worth around $5.8 billion and employing a workforce of 65,816, are currently under construction in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom is also planning to develop industries such as shipbuilding, defense and entertainment with the backing of state funds.
Among the upcoming industrial plants and factories in the Kingdom, the metals and minerals industry topped the list with 342 units under construction, followed by rubber and plastics industry (128 factories), the food and beverages sector (59 factories) and the chemical products industry (55 factories), report Zawya, Middle East unit of Thomas Reuters Foundation.