What’s the average expat professional salary in the Gulf States?

Published:  26 Feb at 6 PM
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Almost every ambitious expat professional would love to land a job in the Gulf States, but what’s the average pay?

The Gulf States attract top drawer expat professionals for their luxury lifestyle, superb weather, career opportunities and, of course, high salaries for those with the right qualifications and experience. Getting head-hunted for a position with a multinational company based in Dubai, Kuwait or one of the other emirates is every ambitious expat’s dream, but what about the salaries themselves?

Results of an annual salary average survey for 2018 have just been released, with the actual figures seemingly suggesting the expat monthly wage has decreased, but it’s only the way of calculating the averages that’s changed. The index itself now includes several tiers of lower-paid positions, this reducing the average salary which now stands at $8,033 a month. The figure itself is 26 per cent lower than its equivalent in the previous year’s survey, but top expat professional salaries are as generous as before. In addition, the survey now counts all expats without splitting them between Asian, Arab and Western workers, a move which also decreases the average, and the amount varies country by country across the entire region.

For example, the Saudi Arabia average fell by 34.21 per cent, the UAE average was down by 26.74 per cent and the Kuwaiti average fell by 27.73. Oman’s averages dropped by 25.2 per cent and those of Bahrain were down by 25.18 per cent. Average expatriate salaries vary considerably state by state. The highest paid positions for expatriate professionals working in the Gulf are those of multinational company managing director or local company CEO, with the positions paying some $34,990 and $24,950 respectively, and Saudi Arabia’s average salary is now $8,560 a month. This last figure doesn’t suggest those in Saudi are paid more as it simply represents a higher average wage across the board.

For teachers, Bahrain is the best destination, with a headmaster receiving $11,530 monthly, and Kuwait pays the highest salary for qualified doctors at around $5,150 monthly. According to professionals in the recruitment sector, small and medium-sized private companies are expected to be major hirers in 2019, with 75 per cent of smaller businesses planning to hire within three months and 90 per cent expected to take on new staff over the next 12 months. In general, the overall transformations ongoing in the Middle East make the region an attractive proposition for expats, particularly those in the banking, real estate, construction and infrastructure sectors.
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