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Western Expats In Middle East Earn The Most

Posted on 10/10/2012 by achieve-admin

Western expats working in the Middle East earn more money than Asian or Arab peers, a new survey has found.

While it is widely documented that expats are well paid across the Gulf States, such as oil-rich Saudi Arabia, many are not aware of the distinctions among foreign workers.

However, a survey by the Middle East magazine Gulf Business has found that Western expats take home the biggest pay packets when compared with Asian and Middle Eastern expats in the same roles.

This phenomenon applies across all the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – which is made up Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

For example, a Western expat in Saudi Arabia is paid on average six per cent more than an Arab expat and almost 30 per cent more than an Asian one. Westerners sit top of the tree in all Gulf countries, while Asian expats are the lowest paid across the region.

One of the biggest pay differentials occurs in the United Arab Emirates where Western expats earn 12.6 per cent more than Arab equivalents, and a whopping 40.5 per cent more than Asian ones.

Recruitment firms say Western workers have higher expectations when moving overseas as base salaries and living standards in their home countries tend to be higher compared to other parts of the world.

However, Joshua Yim, CEO of Singapore-based recruitment firm Achieve Group, said: “I believe this phenomenon stems from a historical perception that has roots tracing back to colonial times; that Westerners are the ‘superior colony master’.

“They are also perceived as more advanced and savvy due to their cultural background, history of technological innovations and out-of-the-box thinking. In contrast, there is also an opinion that Asians are more confined to traditional and conservative thinking patterns. Certainly, much has changed with the East catching up over the past decades, but there is a well-known quote that best explains this phenomenon: ‘Perception is reality’.”

Headhunting firm Robert Half said the salary gap between expats of all nationalities and locals was generally widening, because companies were increasingly including the money for perks such as school fees in salaries. A spokesman said: “Many of the expat benefits that were once on offer such as housing, relocation and schooling are now being rolled into the base salary.

“In the UAE, they are challenged with the fact that the public sector pays high wages and the private sector is challenged to meet these levels in some cases.”

Source: The Telegraph, 10 Oct 2012