Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Expatriate salary levels in GCC property sector fall 30%

With the economic downturn having affected almost all parts of the global economy beyond anyone's expectation,the salary increases in the GCC region will reduce more than expected, a report has said.

In 2008, real estate sectors shed 48% of its staff, followed by 24.5% from the banking sector and 13.8% from the oil related operating sector - trends now show that these figures have come down to 22% in the real estate sector, 13.5% in the banking sector and 9.5% in the oil and gas sector, the report says.

As far as our Dubai operations are concerned, I believe it is down by 22-30 per cent. Business will be down for the next two quarters but I expect an uptick by the end of this year. By the last quarter of 2009, we believe talent shortage will emerge and companies will start aggressively hiring senior talent. When the economy turns around, we are going to have rapid businesss activities.

Expatriate salary levels in property fall 30%

Salary levels for expatriates working in the property and construction sectors across the GCC have fallen by up to 30 per cent in the past eight months, according to data from APG Global, an Australia-based recruitment agency.

The decline comes after a four-year hiring boom, when above market rates were paid by firms scrambling to fill positions for construction projects.

While staff numbers have been trimmed and hiring is limited, salary levels for positions that are available have slumped as employers make the most of an abundance of applicants.

For example, a development director who could once command Dh70,000 (US$19,000) a month, would today be offered between Dh50,000 and Dh55,000.

A project manager or engineer who could earn up to Dh55,000 a month last September, would now get about Dh45,000, while an urban planner, which is where most of the hiring is being done, would now take home Dh35,000 a month compared to Dh45,000 eight months ago.

Joanne Robertson, associate director of operations at APG Global, has warned companies against making further cuts if they want to keep staff for when the market rebounds.

“Some companies need to be cutting costs so they’re trying to reduce salaries,” she said.

“If anything, we’re advising them not to cut salaries below market rates and to just bring them back in line with what people should have been getting paid in the first place. Before, companies were willing to pay above the market rates to get the right people, because there was a lack of people. But they risk losing people (when the market rebounds) and the cost of hiring someone new far outweighs putting them on a reasonable salary in the first place.”

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