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Pay gap between UAE expats shrinking?

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Wage inequalities between Arab, Asian and western emigrants closing, reveals study.

October 2, 2013 3:38 by



It’s long been rumored that expat professionals working across the UAE (and the GCC region) are paid according to their nationality rather than their experience, capabilities or qualifications.

However, a new study by The Cost of Living Reports reveals that the situation is changing and the disparity between what western and Asian expats earn in the UAE is shrinking.

Rebecca Wilson, head of analysis at the company, says that the “empirical proof” of this change is all around us, adding that “we’re seeing more Asians in the office environment than ever before”, while westerners are increasingly taking up jobs in bars, restaurants and retail chains.

She adds: “As nice as it would be to declare that this is because we have attained a more benevolent social utopia within the corporate world, it is due to the unwavering global economic forces coming into play and the fact that the recession in the developed world has simply outlasted the recession in the developing world. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

However, the Gulf Business 2013 Salary Survey, released in March, revealed that Asian expats in the GCC region earn approximately 26 per cent less than western expats doing the same jobs, while Arab expats can expect to earn 15.7 per cent less than their western counterparts.

The study, which surveyed the average remuneration for 20 roles across the six Gulf countries, also revealed that the average monthly salary for a western expatriate in the UAE is $11,936, while Arab expats earn $10,363 on average, and Asian expats earn $8,853.

Both studies convey entirely different conclusions – but which is closer to reality? Share your opinions with us below.



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