The Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Strategy represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2020.
Strategy and consulting roles in Saudi Arabia recorded significant salary increases in 2019, driven by growth in markets such as defence, telecommunications, healthcare, telecoms and tourism and culture. Implementation of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic roadmap is prompting fresh demand for strategy professionals both in industry and consulting and this is set to continue in 2020.
For industry consultants, we expect the market-rate salary ranges to increase by 7% and consulting, 5%. Although the increase in new recruit salaries were reported much higher for Saudi national employees, reaching 35-40% if they moved from the private sector to the public sector, our experts report. A royal decree implemented in 2019 seeks to incentivise employment within the private sector by curbing public sector pay rises is expected to help stabilise public sector salaries. So far, though, it has led to an increase in bonuses and other discretionary benefits.
There is likely to be a continued steady flow of new strategy recruits to the public sector, particularly in the fields of tourism, entertainment, heritage and culture, where the government is making sizeable investments to boost the national economy.
Experts predict a continued uptick in recruitment within the strategy and consulting sector in the year ahead. In general, there is much rotation within the industry, and firms are investing in growing their Saudi offices in response to pressure from local clients to have a physical presence in the kingdom. Previously, they may have served the Saudi market from regional headquarters in the UAE or elsewhere.
Challenges facing firms in the strategy sector include competition for Saudi national talent, especially in the public sector with its high remuneration packages, while private sector firms
report high salary demands from candidates. Candidates wanting to move within the private sector purely for salary increases may find themselves disappointed by the end of the process as firms cannot always significantly increase remuneration unless compensating for increased responsibility, given that salary brackets from firm to firm within the private sector tend to be fairly similar.
Organisations in this sector are also facing challenges keeping candidates engaged through lengthy hiring processes, especially for public sector roles. On average, recruitment for strategy roles in Saudi Arabia takes between 4-6 months, our experts say. Sometimes visa delays can hold up recruitment of non-Saudi nationals, although the introduction of the new tourist visa will help to facilitate face-toface interviews for overseas candidates. Organisations must ensure they design streamlined recruitment processes that prioritise enhancing the candidate’s experience.
The most in-demand roles for 2020 include strategy & planning, corporate performance, initiative management and advisor positions. The high demand for Saudi national talent is creating fierce competition for talent. High Demand for strategy knowledge and experience working on short-term projects, such as growth or market entry strategies, and this is expected to continue in 2020.
Download the full Strategy Salary Guide 2020 here
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