Key roles in demand, according to the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide

Robert Half offers insight on the top three roles in demand for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and human resources 

  • Wide-scale projects such as implementation of VAT, digital transformation and business growth priorities are increasing staffing demands
  • Robert Half offers insight on the top three roles in demand for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and human resources

30 October 2018, Dubai – The implementation of VAT, the need to reshape business due to technological advances and the priority on business growth is shaping the staffing landscape for 2018. These large-scale projects are increasing demand for specialist professionals at a pace that supply is unable to match, and as a result, the number of key roles are expected to grow in demand next year across specialist professional occupations.

The Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in accounting and finance, financial services, information technology, legal and human resources. The Salary Guide enables employers and employees to benchmark starting salaries for a variety of permanent professional roles on a national basis.

Accounting and finance 

The demand for accounting and finance professionals is predicted to remain high within the real estate, construction, professional services and healthcare industries in the coming year. Candidates with 5 to 10 years’ industry experience will be the most sought after, with GCC experience proving the most valuable skill.  

Top 3 most in-demand roles in accounting and finance for 2018 

Job role Predicted starting salaries in 2018
Tax managers (Large company)  $92,000 - $141,000
Financial planning and analysis directors (Large company) $164,500 - $238,200
Credit controllers (Small company) $52,200 - $65,500

Source: Robert Half UAE


The implementation of new technologies is a key area of focus for 48% of businesses in the coming year, along with talent management and company growth. The boom for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has also caused a sharp increase in the number of transformation and digital retail businesses operating in the market. This has further helped to drive demand. 

Top 3 most in-demand roles in technology for 2018 

Job role Predicted starting salaries in 2018
Project/programme managers $98,100– $163,500
Business systems analysts  $55,600 – 100,900
Application developers $52,300 – $121,000

Source: Robert Half UAE

Financial services 

The financial services industry is experiencing a transformative shift, with 80% of banks saying that they plan to implement blockchain projects by the end of the year. Cybercrime and economic instability are also having an impact, increasing the need for professionals with better analytical skills and a surplus of qualifications for any given role. 

Top 3 most in-demand roles in financial services for 2018 

Job role Predicted starting salaries in 2018
Compliance Officers $58,900 - $91,600
Anti-Money Laundering Specialist $68,700 - $122,600
M&A Associates  $114,600 - $192,100

Source: Robert Half UAE

Human resources and administration

Human resources and administrative staff have become the backbone of UAE businesses, especially now that digital transformation projects are beginning to take effect, changing the nature of work. As a result, businesses are investing heavily in the training, development and retention of HR and administration departments, to ensure the level of business support can match the future objectives.

Top 3 most in-demand roles in HR and administration for 2018 

Job role Predicted starting salaries in 2018
Head of HR $114,400 - $128,500
HR Business Partner $ 78,700 - $ 81,700
Executive Assistants  $ 53,000 - $ 58,900

Source: Robert Half UAE

Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director at Robert Half UAE, commented: “In the coming year, businesses will be seeking to retain a competitive advantage while preparing for the challenges which lie ahead. Digital transformation, diversification from the reliance on the oil industry and a new VAT regime have solidified the importance of finding the right candidate. An industry-wide focus on retention, transformation and growth have seen the highest salaries awarded to professionals with the right mix of skills and cultural relevance to meet ever-increasing growth targets.”


Notes to editors
These starting salary figures are based on a number of sources, most notably the number of placements our recruiting professionals make each year. Our experts interact with hiring managers and candidates daily, which gives us unique, real-world insights into the latest salary and benefits trends. 
The projected salaries for each position reflect starting pay only in US dollars. Bonuses and other forms of remuneration, such as pension scheme and long-term incentives, are not taken into account. This is because professionals joining a company may enter at a variety of experience levels and we report salaries in ranges. The ranges represent averages and will vary by industry and hard-to-fill skill sets. 

Download the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide

About Robert Half
Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy; a member of the S&P 500 and #1 in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s “World's Most Admired Companies” list (2016). Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide, including the UAE, providing recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal, human resources and administration professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at