Pay Hikes and More Jobs in The UAE….

So where would you cut down on spending – food, clothes, nights out? At least there are no personal taxes to pay in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With that delightful state of affairs, not to mention the excellent salary package, too, what opportunities you have to save!

Yes, 2013 looks to be a good year for salary increases across the region. Rein in on the debt if you want to take advantage, however. Think about it as you apply for a credit card from HSBC or from one of the other banking institutions which these days seem to exert such influence across the UAE. Mind you, no matter where you live, HSBC, Barclays and all the other multinational giants are part and parcel of our daily lives because they provide us with what we need. Good personal banking.

We can decide to use the sleek online banking services which so many of us take for granted, and then go no further. We can also do the sensible thing and open a savings account. Or we can apply for a personal loan or a credit card and wrack up the personal debt. Not a problem if you can comfortably meet the monthly payments.

Unfortunately, many of us go too far. So we live with debt, sometimes for years on end. It seems, so the figures tell us, the vast majority of us built up huge personal debts during the good years. Remember them? And remember 2007 and beyond, and the near financial meltdown across the globe? We’re still paying for it all now.

Most of us have learned the lesson well and are pulling back on profligate spending. Many of us, too, have been forced to widen our horizons just to get a job with a decent salary. Thousands of Americans are living and working in the UAE, and other countries in the Gulf region, for that very reason. And loving it.

The year ahead is looking real good for them, too, in terms of salary hikes. While whole swathes of the globe are still held by the icy grip of recession and austerity, the Gulf region seems to be doing rather well.

If you missed the Mercer study findings released at the back-end of last year, it’s headline suggested there was growing confidence in the region’s economic outlook for 2013. Salaries in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia  were expected to increase by about 5-6%, with 70% of Gulf companies surveyed looking to increase head count this year. The findings formed part of Mercer’s 2012 Total Remuneration Survey (TRS).

Mercer, a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments, surveyed close to 500 firms across a whole raft of industries and found salaries are likely to rise by 5% in the UAE, 5.6% in Qatar and 6% in Saudi Arabia during 2013. Anticipated pay increases during this period were expected to remain above inflation rate forecasts – 1.7% in the UAE, 4% in Qatar, 4.4% in Saudi Arabia – generating real pay growth for the working population.

With aggressive recruitment strategies expected to be put in place, 60% of companies surveyed were looking to increase headcount by the end of 2012, and 70% of firms were aiming to do the same in 2013. Pay rises and more jobs in the pipeline. So where are you going to spend 2013?

Check out the TRS survey here.