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Property sector: super salaries?

Property sector: super salaries?

According to a new survey, people working in real estate are extraordinarily well-paid. But can numbers be believed?

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October 6, 2008 1:06 by



If research statistics are to be believed, people in the Middle East real estate sector have no reason to complain about the rising cost of living. In the last year, their salaries have risen by almost the same rate as the inflation, which is expected to reach around 12.5 percent this year.

According to a survey by Macdonald, a recruitment consultancy, the average total monthly remuneration – basic, housing and transport allowances – of professionals in the property sector has risen by 10.7 percent since last year to reach Dh39,181.

Call us naive, but it seems hard to believe that even an average employee in the sector is earning almost Dh40, 000 per month. If so, we’re clearly in the wrong profession.

The company says “the highlight of this year’s survey is the average rise of 13.2 percent in salaries across all disciplines in the Middle East real estate sector,” suggesting the survey represents a broad-based sampling of all employees in the sector.

It’s pretty obvious that laborers have been excluded from this survey. One would imagine that they form an integral part of the property sector, handling such odd tasks as building the actual buildings.

The results are also posted in UAE dirhams despite the fact that the survey claims to cover the Middle East in its entirety.

A total of 1,033 property professionals responded to the company’s online questionnaire. But the company did not make clear how it came up with this sample. Was it merely posted on a website? Were respondents self-selecting? Did they merely post the poll on a Web site and wait for the results to come in, or did they send you questionnaires to a representative sampling of real estate sector employees?

“The Salary Survey provides a positive outlook for the future, with 71 percent of the survey’s respondents anticipating an increase in economic activity over the next year. […] This illustrates that property professionals in this region have real confidence in their market, and the Middle East is the global real estate market to work in at present,” says the company’s press release.

Such statements seem deaf to talk of a world economic crisis and increasing speculation that the Dubai real estate boom may be about to peak or may have already.



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