UAE Firms are Boosting Staff Benefits

With rents rising fast, is it time you asked for a pay rise?
ByAhlan! Live ReporterSunday , 03 May 2015
UAE Firms are Boosting Staff Benefits
Rents are soaring to sky-high levels, but how about housing allowances?

When’s the last time your boss boosted your benefits?

With the UAE’s cost of living rising fast, firms have increased total allowances by as much as 12 per cent over the past year, a study by management consultancy Aon Hewitt has found.

The firm’s latest GCC Allowances and Benefits Survey, the biggest survey of its kind, looked at more than 90 UAE-based companies across a number of sectors and found many had enhanced workers’ overall packages to help them manage school fees and rents, which have shot up massively over the past couple of years.

It showed that housing allowances had risen by 15 per cent across all job roles, ranging from $23,000 (Dhs84,478) to $59,000 (Dhs216,704).

Education assistance increased by a fifth and now ranges from $8,000 (Dhs29,383) to $15,000 (Dhs55,094) per child across job roles.

The survey also showed that education assistance eligibility has increased, with almost half of the companies across the UAE now giving help with school fees to lower-level staff as well as management.

Robert Richter, Compensation Survey Manager at Aon Hewitt Middle East, said: “Since our 2014 survey we have seen companies continue to increase their cash allowance across the board in line with the cost of living.

“Housing allowance in the UAE is one of the highest across the GCC at 35 and 40 per cent of basic pay, whereas this is usually only 25 per cent elsewhere.

“As rents are nearing pre-2008 levels and education costs continue to increase companies need to remain attractive in order to retain and gain new talent.”

The report showed that the average given for housing allowance across the GCC is highest in Qatar, where it averages $44,000 (Dhs161,610), and lowest in Bahrain at $28,500 (Dhs104,680), while the average given for children’s education assistance across the GCC is highest in Qatar, averaging $12,000 and lowest in Saudi Arabia at $7,000 (Dhs25,711).

Aon Hewitt’s report also measured furniture and relocation allowance, end-of-service benefits, life and accident insurance, health insurance, loans, mobile phones, home leave benefit, annual leave entitlement and support for staff with long-term disabilities.

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