Salaries vs. the Cost of Living in the UAE

Salaries vs. the Cost of Living in the UAE

New figures have shown that employee salaries have not risen in line with the cost of living in the UAE. 

The cost of living in the UAE is rising

Business is booming in the United Arab Emirate. Its economy was worth $390, billion as of December 2014, according to Forbes. Furthermore the UAE recently ranked as the highest Arab country in terms of well-being and life satisfaction.

This makes the Emirates a desirable place to work. Yet it has become an increasingly expensive place to live. The cost of living is particularly high in global business hubs such as Abu Dhabi, where rent can total 50% of an employee’s salary.

Cost of living in the UAE rose in 2014

The 2015 Mena salary survey, which was conducted recently by YouGov, has shown that 84% think that the cost of living in the UAE increased in 2014. Over a third said that they’ve seen it rise by over 20%.

When questioned further, a staggering 86% of those who said that the cost of living in the Emirates rose last year attributed it to an upwards tick in the cost of rent. Meanwhile, 59% said the cost of living rose because of food and beverages, whilst 56% said it was because of utility bills. Furthermore 79% of those questioned believe that the cost of living in the UAE will continue to rise in 2015.

Employees in the UAE are dissatisfied with their wages

The same poll showed that as many as 52% of employees in the UAE are unhappy with their current salary. The survey also discovered that two out of three respondents say that their wages are lower than their counterparts in other firms in their industries.

Furthermore, the YouGov poll shows that 40% of respondents didn’t receive a pay rise in 2014 despite the rise in cost of living and of those who did, 24% still weren’t happy with their salary. In contrast, 55% expect their wages to go up in 2015 according to Emirates 24/7, but only one in three expect a salary increase of up to 15%.

Invest in your employees

If you’re an ex-pat who has established a business in the UAE you need to take note of the results of this survey. A satisfied employee is productive. Employees in the UAE aren’t satisfied with their wages because they don’t meet the current cost of living. A business owner should invest in their employees by paying them a wage that can meet the cost of living if they want to establish a successful venture.

Pro Partner Group specialises in providing foreign investors with a seamless and financially efficient means to setting up a profitable corporate presence in the UAE and Oman.

Company Formation | Foreign Branches | Commercial Agency | PRO Services | Government Liaison

For more information email me at or call a member of the team on +971 (0)2  448 5120

Share this article

Expert Advice

Book a call with one of our company formation specialists.

Please enter a message

Meet the Pro Partner Group team,
a vastly skilled and experienced UAE team