Western Expats Earn the Biggest Gulf Salaries

By Financial News
Western Expats Earn the Biggest Gulf Salaries

Expats from Europe and the USA earn more money than the Arab or Asian colleagues they work alongside in the Middle East, according to a new survey.

Even if they do the same job from the same office, Westerners have a distinct earnings advantage.

Although the fact that expats had a high earning potential in the Gulf States, until now, no differentiation was proved between expats from different cultural backgrounds.

The revelation comes from a survey by magazine Gulf Business, which looked at pay packets across the Gulf Cooperation Council – which covers Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Sales and marketing managers are the big earners, taking an average monthly wage of US$11,560.

Human resources managers have the next best salaries at around $11,468 per month, even though HR was the only business sector seeing an average salary drop – of 37% compared with 12 months earlier.

Pre-2008 salary levels

“Roles like organisational design, payroll and recruitment were all represented in HR headcount, but now have been rolled into one HR generalist role,” said Christo Daniels, managing director of recruiter Morgan McKinley. “The market has corrected itself. So we’re back to pre-2008 salary levels.”

Construction project managers come in third at around $11,454 per month, followed by banking at $11,240.

Publishing came last, paying just $7,545 a month.

However, the survey also highlighted the differences between salaries paid to Westerners and other expats.

A Western expat in Saudi Arabia earns an average 6% more than an Arab expat and 30%  more than an Asian. Westerners earn more in all GCC countries, while Asians are paid the least.

The widest differential is in the United Arab Emirates, where Western expats are paid 12.6% more than Arabs and 40.5% more than Asians.

Higher expectations

Recruiters blame the difference on expats from the West having expectations based on higher salaries and living standards in their home countries.

According to Gulf Business, Western CEOs earn the most across the Gulf – an average $37,120 a month – this varies between countries, according to the survey, the average monthly salary for a Western CEO is:

  • Bahrain$28,110
  • Saudi Arabia$37,120
  • Kuwait$31,180
  • UAE$33,217
  • Oman $29,272
  • Qatar$33,463

Qatar is the only place where Western and Arab expats have comparable take-home salaries.

On average, across all job functions and titles from CEO to personal assistant in the Gulf, Asian expats earn an average $10,316 per month, Arabs $12,788 and Western expats $13,748.

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