The Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Accounting & Finance represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the UAE for 2020.
Market-rate salary ranges for accounting and finance are expected to decline in 2020, by -3%.
Market rate salary range declines are more likely for senior candidates in retail, hospitality, real estate and construction, as those industries have experienced a lull in business activity amid
challenging economic conditions over the past 12 months. Organisations are hiring cautiously with an overreliance on the real estate market; this has impacted growth in some industries.
Despite this, candidates are seeking new opportunities for career progression, in particular, senior roles with increased market exposure, greater responsibility and more significant remuneration and benefits packages. Many
accounting and finance professionals are keen to work for larger corporations and multinationals that offer opportunities for global mobility. As a result, 2020 will be competitive for this sector, as the overall number of new positions has
decreased year-on-year and responsibilities are typically divided among remaining staff after someone leaves. For companies that are recruiting, the strategy is to assess existing staff and replace
underperformers, with increasing use of comprehensive psychometric and aptitude tests during the interview process to ensure quality hires. In terms of salaries, companies are deliberately
under-offering to candidates because of an oversupply of talent. Mid to senior positions such as Financial Controller, Finance Director and FP&A Manager are more in
demand than Group CFO or CFO roles. Abu Dhabi is the most promising prospect in terms of location due to a slew of large-scale public sector projects and developments ongoing. Businesses are likely to
prioritise candidates that are based in the UAE or wider GCC.
The Expo 2020 Dubai mega-event is also boosting hiring momentum across the rest of the emirates .Other factors impacting the hiring of finance professionals in the UAE in 2020 include companies
increasingly focussing on candidates with transformation or change management experience, as opposed to technical expertise only. That said, organisations are paying more attention to
professional accounting certifications than they have in previous years. Industry-specific knowledge and experience remain a critical factor in the selection process.
The demand for tax talent has remained relatively steady in 2019. However, the market is not yet mature, and there is still a considerable number of organisations that haven't established tax
functions. Some of the leading local holdings have hired tax professionals primarily to oversee VAT and international tax matters. Multinational organisations typically hire tax professionals only if they need someone to manage multijurisdictional
tax matters across a region rather than a single market whereas consulting firms and government remain active in recruiting tax professionals. Transfer Pricing is discussed increasingly more throughout the region, and Big 4 organisations have
built sizeable teams especially in the UAE and the KSA. Overall the region is going through a constant transformation when it comes to its tax systems, and it's fair to assume that tax professionals will be in
demand long-term. Companies are advised to review their working cultures and offer a work-life balance, the opportunity for flexible working and attractive skills training programmes to lure and retain the best candidates.
Download the full Accounting & Finance Salary Guide 2020 here
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