2021 Robert Half Salary Guide now available

By Robert Half on 18th November 2020

Robert Half's 2021 Salary Guide which provides salary information for more than 130 positions spanning Accounting & Finance, Financial Services, Technology, Admin & HR and Legal fields here in the UAE is now available! Information in the 2021 Guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed by Robert Half's staffing and recruiting managers over recent months.

Current salary and bonus trends

Even during this time of rising unemployment, Robert Half’s latest research data1 shows that a majority of companies (73%) are offering pay that meets or exceeds pre-pandemic numbers. More than four-in-ten senior managers surveyed (47%) said salaries have held steady since the spread of COVID-19 began, and nearly 3-in-10 respondents (26%) noted an increase in base compensation for key roles spanning Accounting & Finance, Financial Services, Technology and HR/Admin.

Remote working is also having a more pronounced impact on salary levels than pre-COVID-19, with survey respondents split almost equally when it comes to calculating starting salaries for new hires: either by using their location (42%) for benchmarking, the applicant’s location (28%) or using a combination of both (26%).

Bonuses are still being paid this year. A little over half the managers surveyed (52%) are making payments which either meet or exceed their pre-COVID-19 equivalents, whilst 38% are offering less, year-on-year.

"Employees are a company’s most valuable asset for navigating both short-term disruption and achieving long-term growth,” said Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director, Robert Half Middle East, in launching the 2021 Salary Guide. “Workers have been stretched to the limit during the current pandemic, often putting in longer hours, taking on additional responsibilities, acquiring new skills and using recent months to reassess their career priorities. Coming out of lockdown, professionals are much savvier about the market value of their skills and current salary trends than ever before. Employers should research compensation trends regularly, be prepared to move quickly and negotiate effectively in order to retain key employees or hire promising talent.”

New employee benefits

COVID-19 is re-shaping the employee benefits landscape. At the international level, many managers surveyed have incorporated new worker benefits since the start of the pandemic, including, but not limited to:

  • At-home office equipment allowances
  • Mental health resources or assistance
  • Wellness programmes

Remote and Flexible working are growing in demand

Maintaining an appropriate work-life balance is also a priority, post-lockdown, with 71% of managers surveyed committed to offering remote work for the foreseeable future. Flexitime policies – i.e. allowing employees to structure their workday or week as they please – are in place amongst 61% of companies, with working a compressed work week (52%) and permanent part-time arrangements (51%) also favoured by the majority of survey respondents.

"Salary definitely remains an important consideration. But nonmonetary benefits such as enhanced wellness resources, remote- and flexible-working options and achieving a better work-life balance all figure prominently amongst COVID-19’s longer-term legacies, from a workplace perspective,” adds El Mettouri. “With current economic volatility likely to continue for some time yet, even the prospect of a salary freeze over coming months can be made more palatable if managers can ensure that nonmonetary benefits are sufficiently tailored supportive and value-adding for employees.”

Companies are still hiring

UAE employers are recruiting. There is strong demand for new talent, particularly across the Utilities, Distribution, E-commerce, Telecoms, Insurance and Healthcare sectors. HR Consultants, Legal Managers, Finance and Business Analysts as well as Managing Director roles all remain in high demand. Additionally, there is a clear shift in the skill sets being sought by hiring managers, with an uptick in demand for ‘soft’ skills such as agility, creativity and communication alongside core technical competencies in order for personnel to have the optimal attributes needed to navigate what remains a very challenging business climate.

“Although some sectors clearly had to downsize due to the COVID-19 crisis, many companies showed resilience by adapting quickly to the new business reality,” El Mettouri observes. “The move to working from home, accelerated rates of digital transformation, the development of virtual procedures for recruitment and onboarding, the encouragement of new skills and the emergence of more flexible workforce models have profoundly changed the way companies work, recruit and offer products and services. All of these developments likely foreshadow how we will work in the post-pandemic era. The future of work has not only arrived, it’s here to stay.”

We’re here to help

Robert Half is a leading recruitment agency. Send your CV to one of our specialist consultants if you’re looking for a new role or, if you’re planning to hire, tell us your hiring needs.

Click here to access the 2021 Salary Guide.

Additional Information & Resources

Robert Half understands that it takes time and effort to evaluate the best talent strategy for different businesses. For further independent advice to assist with your recruitment and workforce planning efforts, visit RobertHalf.ae/advice 


1Based on Robert Half-commissioned research amongst 1,502 respondents using an online data collection methodology during July 2020. This was comprised of 300 interviews in Belgium, 300 in Brazil, 301 in France, 300 in Germany, and 301 in the United Kingdom. Respondents included General Managers, Chief Financial Officers and Chief Information Officers with hiring responsibilities across small (50-249 employees), medium (250-499) and large (500+ employees) from private, publicly listed, and public sector businesses across the five countries.

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