Expat Numbers in the Gulf on the Decline, but Pay Still Remains High

For the longest time, it has been common knowledge that expats working in the Middle East are among the highest paid in the world, considering the fact that there’s no tax in these nations and high-paying jobs are up for grabs.

But that was then. Come 2019 and we see a shift from hiring expats to offering jobs to nationals, imposing value added tax and a decline in the economic performance by some of the Arab countries, as affected by the decreasing oil prices and budget deficits, among others.

Expat Numbers in the Gulf on the Decline, but Pay Still Remains High

Survey Reveals Expat Numbers in the Gulf on the Decline, but Pay Remains High

An independent survey by Bayt.com revealed that the average expat workforce in the Gulf is on the decline, but this does not mean that they earn any less, as shared in a report by Al-Qabas Daily.

Based on the 2018 survey, the average monthly income of expats in Gulf countries was around $8,083, which dropped 26% from the previous year.

The 2018 Payroll survey also saw some changes in the calculations, after a number of low-wage jobs were included in the index, which resulted in a lower average salary of expats in the Gulf region.

Meanwhile, the average number of expats in Kuwait went down by 27.73%, while Saudi Arabia kept the highest numbers at 34.21% followed by the UAE at 26.74%.

There was also a drop in the average expat salary in Bahrain by 25.18% and in Oman by 25.2%. The survey categorized expats based on their place of origin instead of evaluating them altogether.

And while the average salary for expats in the Middle East has gone down, it does not mean they are paid any less. According to Suhail Masri, vice-president of employer solutions at Bayt.com, the coming months will see an increase in hiring activities in the Middle East from small to medium enterprises.

Masri also explained that the overall transformation in the workforce landscape in the Middle East is an attractive option for expats who want to invest in their careers, especially in the fields of real estate, construction, infrastructure and banking.

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