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How much do you earn compared to them?

How much do you earn compared to them?

New figures lay bare the average cost of ‘unskilled’ and ‘skilled’ labour in the UAE… plus they show that your boss is probably making a killing from you.

October 12, 2010 3:40 by

A workshop organized by the Dubai Economic Council and the Ministry of Labour has laid bare the gap in costs between hiring a skilled worker and an unskilled worker, according to Gulf News.

The newspaper reports that the average total annual cost of labour per employee in the country is estimated at about AED 55,000. That’s according to figures set out in an academic paper by Dr. Mouawiya Al Awad, Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Zayed University.

But that figure is an average that sheds little light on the true situation: a “skilled” worker in the UAE costs an average of AED 144,000, while an “unskilled” costs just AED 33,000. Most of these costs are associated with wages, of course, but a small chunk relates to recruitment and administration. For skilled workers, overall admin costs associated with recruitment are AED 3,404 per year. For unskilled, that figure is AED 2,296.

The Gulf News observed that: “Despite these costs, hiring foreign workers is an economic advantage to private companies and the UAE economy when comparing the costs to productivity levels, according to the study. This suggests that competitiveness of the UAE economy may be ‘linked strongly’ to using cheap and unskilled workers, [Dr Al Awad] said.”

That will come as no great surprise to anyone familiar with the UAE economy, which has grown fat on cheap real estate development built by unskilled workers largely from the Indian subcontinent. But the difference between the costs of skilled and unskilled labour is not the only gap worth noting in the figures.

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  1. Eh? on October 13, 2010 7:56 am

    “three quarters of workers in the UAE feel they are unemployed (compared to 71 percent in Saudi, 75 percent in Qatar and a whopping 80 percent in Kuwait, for example).”
    I think you meant to say ‘underpaid’.

  2. Samuel Potter on October 13, 2010 8:14 am

    Corrected, thanks

  3. Miss Anne Thropic on October 14, 2010 8:21 am

    Most people, even if they are on a huge salary, will say if asked in a survey, that they are underpaid.


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