The Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Public Sector represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the UAE for 2020.
UAE government departments and state entities are rolling out national economic development initiatives including the UAE’s Vision 2021, Abu Dhabi’s economic Vision 2030 and the Dh50 billion ‘Ghadan 21’ stimulus programme, all of which are a boon for the country’s employment market.
While salaries in the UAE public sector were flat in 2019, hiring activity is expected to accelerate in 2020, and organisations will be under pressure to offer competitive packages to Emirati and expatriate staff. However, we do not predict any significant salary range increases in 2020.
In the year ahead, numerous factors will positively impact the broader UAE economy and invigorate the job market. Tourism, culture, sustainability and innovation initiatives implemented under Ghadan 21 will boost the demand among Abu Dhabi’s government and semi-government departments for specialist expertise from the local and regional markets, with a focus on Emirati talent.
Higher levels of hiring in Abu Dhabi compared to neighbouring Dubai will continue in 2020, although infrastructure investments in the run-up to Expo 2020 Dubai and other projects in the emirate will drive public sector hiring in the year ahead. The UAE’s announcement of 10-year visas for scientists, investors and other professionals in the medical, research and technical fields will help to attract top minds from overseas.
On a macro level, global oil prices are set to average above $60 per barrel in 2020, and the UAE’s GDP growth is set to lift to 2.5% from 1.6% in 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund, positively impacting budgets and sentiment.
The most in-demand public sector roles in 2020 will be economists, public policy experts and sustainability advisors. The main drivers for candidates seeking a new role will be the desire to be part of new and exciting government-led projects
or recently established state and state-affiliated entities. Many government departments have new leaders and a new vision to transform the economy, and candidates are jostling to be part of the journey. Others are only looking for career growth and the opportunity to learn, develop and be promoted.
Still, some challenges affecting hiring in the UAE’s public sector in 2019 and are expected to persist in the year ahead. International private sector consultants are willing to move over to government entities on a short-term advisory basis, which is causing issues with retention, while high salary expectations among top Emirati talent is challenging public sector budgets.
Hire of international expats has declined of late, our experts say, but that is for a positive reason. Levels of domestic expertise in the UAE and broader GCC are improving, increasing the talent pool among UAE nationals and others from the region. Nonetheless, the traditional overseas markets of the UK, Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America remain key source markets for recruits. Other GCC countries are also attractive recruitment markets for organisations due to geographical proximity and cultural ties.
There are no significant skills gaps among UAE public sector workers, our clients say. However, to attract and retain the best talent, organisations should help Emirati talent develop their careers through training programmes; create flexible working environments and develop a culture of mentorship within teams.
Download the full Public Sector Salary Guide 2020 here
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