The Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Accounting & Finanace represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2020.
As a crucial corporate function, the outlook for hiring in the accounting and finance sector is strong in Saudi Arabia, particularly for senior-level staff. Rising demand for talent as the government rolls out initiatives to expand the kingdom’s private sector, such as the royal decree which incentivises private sector employment Director-level accounting and finance roles are expected to see an average 4% salary hike in 2020, while salaries for recruits at CFOlevel are forecast to rise 12% rise. Expats, on the other hand, will see a minimal increase overall, our experts say.
More generally, the kingdom’s Saudisation policy, which sets minimum thresholds for the proportion of Saudi nationals to be hired within a company, has presented challenges in the market as there is a smaller pool of senior finance candidates and a lack of domestic expertise in specific industries. There is also a reported shortage of Saudi nationals that hold professional accounting certifications.
In response, organisations are seeking detailed technical and soft skill assessments of candidates during the selection process. They are attaching a higher value to relevant industry experience than previous years and paying increased attention to professional qualifications. Mid-to-senior-level accounting and finance roles such as financial controller, finance director and CFO are especially in demand, as well as treasury, internal audit and risk, and candidates with project finance, debt raising, change management and IPO experience.
The top geographical areas from which candidates are being recruited are Saudi Arabia and the GCC, particularly those with prior experience of working in KSA, and dual-language Arabic-English speakers. Riyadh, as the capital city, the Eastern Province for heavy industries and manufacturing, and Jeddah for FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) remain the top spots for hiring activity.
In 2020, there is expected to be an increase in demand and hiring within the manufacturing and consumer goods industries, as well as more movement between public and semi-government entities and increased hiring of junior and midmanager level Saudi nationals.
Overall, our experts forecast a significant level of recruitment next year, on the back of diversification of the economy away from oil dependence, private sector expansion, a heavy focus on new investments by sovereign wealth funds, and creation of new industries such as entertainment, tourism and waste management in line with Vision 2030.
Businesses seeking new talent must place a strong focus on retention strategies, including upskilling and training for existing employees, performancerelated bonuses, and the creation of a positive culture and working environment.
The tax system in the kingdom has been maturing, and this is reflected by the increasing demand for international tax and transfer pricing professionals primarily in the advisory space. Big 4 firms, in particular, have been focusing on building their transfer pricing teams. On the other side of the tax spectrum, there has been a steady demand for corporate tax and VAT professionals but not as high compared to previous years. Corporates are more often choosing to build internal tax departments,hiring specialists to ensure greater efficiency in amaturing function.
Download the full Accounting & Finanace Salary Guide 2020 here
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