Expats accused of asking unrealistic salary demands

Too many expats make unrealistic salary and benefit demands that are much more than employers are ready to pay in Dubai, according to recruiters.

Around 40% of expats demand too much money or extra benefits that price them out of the jobs market, claims recruitment agency Robert Half UAE.

A survey of the market by the agency found that the number of expats moving to the United Arab Emirates is around the same as previous years, but too many expats believe the move will pay them more than the market can stand.

The criticism came from the poll of 75 human resources director working in the UAE.

Robert Half UAE director James Sayer said: “While the Dubai job market is showing strong signs of momentum, with increased salary and bonuses for existing employees, it is important for overseas candidates to develop a thorough understanding of prevailing market conditions before orchestrating such a significant move.

Money is main attraction for expats

“Conducting research, including consulting local salary surveys and speaking with global recruiters with operations in both the home and target countries will not only allow candidates the ability to understand the local conditions but also gain valuable connections, helping ensure that expectations meet reality.”

UAE executives admit that financial reward is the main driver for overseas recruitment.

While nearly half (49%) believe that the number of overseas candidates has remained the same, one third (34%) feel that the number of expatriates have decreased, citing lower compensation (62%) and tougher immigration regulations (12%) as the main reasons.

Just 16% of executives indicate that the number of expatriates have increased over the past three years, also citing monetary factors as a leading cause, although in this case, ‘higher overall remuneration’ (25%). The Eurozone crisis (25%), lifestyle (17%) and local talent shortage (17%) are other reasons they consider have led to increased overseas recruitment.

“While opinions differ on the prevalence of overseas recruitment, what remains is the fact that Dubai is a major international city and we are competing on a global stage for the world’s most talented professionals,” said Sayer.

Middle East salaries to rise 5%

“It is important for companies to provide attractive compensation and benefits packages that will not only entice candidates to consider Dubai as a great place to advance one’s career but also showcase the opportunities and lifestyle that make it a great place to call home.”

An earlier survey by Towers Watson Middle East suggested UAE companies intend to up employee salaries by about 5% this year, while those in Saudi Arabia will see the highest increases at 6%.