How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE?

How COVID-19 has impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE?


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The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically affected the business world, especially when it comes to payments and job searches. For this reason, we want to know: How COVID-19 has impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE?

Since the emergence of this virus, many countries decided to take some measures to safeguard the population, and one of these was to implement remote work for non-essential businesses. Although it was a good initiative, we’ve seen that it has negatively impacted the financial status of many workers, causing pay cuts and other consequences.

In this article, you’ll learn how this global crisis has affected the economic sector of the UAE, and what can we expect in the following weeks or months until everything goes back to normal. Let’s observe:

  • How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE?
  • Are lower salaries the new norm?
  • Has candidates’ salary expectations lowered?
  • What is happening with the job hunt?
  • Has the working hours been reduced?
  • How long will this situation last?
  • How can Connect Resources help you overcome these challenges?

1. How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE?

Companies, employees, and job seekers have all experienced some challenges in the business world because of the worldwide pandemic. However, the most affected have been the jobs and salaries.

What have been the economic results of this crisis? Let’s observe:

  • Companies had to reduce production and operation
  • Employees have received temporary salary cuts
  • Job seekers have found it more challenging to find a job
  • The pool of laid-off workers has increased

In the UAE, the authorities have given support for employers during the coronavirus crisis, which has helped them to continue operations. Still, employees are the ones that have seen the adverse effects.

1.1 Global financial crisis

The COVID-19 crisis caused a reduction in the average salary in UAE and many countries because many businesses had to face challenges to continue production, and the only way to cope with all of these was by cutting salaries to their employees and reducing working hours.

In the UAE, this happened because of the resolution issued by the MoHRE that stated that employers might cut salaries to their workers. In several countries around the world, this also happened, so employees had to deal with receiving less money for their work.

2. Are lower salaries the new norm?

How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE? One of the aspects that have been severely affected is salaries for both junior and senior positions.

Since many employees saw a reduction in wages, they are worried that this situation becomes the norm in the future.

Although there are many guidelines for employees to face the coronavirus crisis, dealing with a salary reduction is tough, and they need to be prepared to continue receiving lower incomes because this situation might not be for the short-term only.

2.1 How has coronavirus impacted salaries?

How has coronavirus impacted salaries

Even the highest salary in UAE has been decreased in at least a small percentage, and this has caused many workers to lower their quality of life by cutting on some leisure activities and reducing their family budget to cover only the necessities.

What was the impact on the salaries of expatriate employees in the UAE? Let’s observe:

  • Average wages were cut in a 20-50%
  • Some employees had to consume their annual/paid leave
  • Some companies opted for implementing unpaid leaves
  • Some employees had amended contracts with a temporary or permanent salary reduction

2.2 Why employees accepted a salary reduction?

Since there were many options for employers to cope with the pandemic that started early this year, the preferable choice was to do temporary salary cuts.

It was a measure widely accepted by employees because they have practically no choice in this matter, and most of them are thankful that they can keep their jobs, especially during the current financial crisis.

3. Has candidates’ salary expectations lowered?

How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE? Not only has affected wages for current employees but also has caused that job seekers to lower their salary expectation so they can get selected to the job that they need.

Since the salary cut was aimed mainly for expatriate employees, they’re also worried that they have to lower their salary expectations to find a better job opportunity or, if they were fired, to find a new job.

2.2 Is pay cut the new norm?

Since many businesses have applied pay cut to their employees, many people ask themselves: What is a good salary in Abu Dhabi? Because each industry has experienced at least some reduction in their income, and people now don’t know what is considered to be a reasonable payment.

Almost every company applied the pay cut for their employees, so practically every job position that the job seeker would like to apply to, they’re going to have to settle with less money.

Although some parts of the market haven’t experienced wage deflation, those are very rare cases where the job position requires a person that has strong skillsets and is an essential task. Those still maintain the pre-COVID-19 salary, but it’s not common at all.

4. What is happening with the job hunt?

How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE? It’s a question that many job seekers ask because, in this difficult time is more difficult to find the job that they have been wanting.

In terms of the job hunt, many companies have some vacancies that need to be filled, but they have expressed that they have received at least 40% fewer applications in comparison with what they received in February.

What are some of the reasons why job hunt has declined in the UAE? Let’s observe:

  • Many candidates have decided to hold to their jobs because they don’t want to face uncertainties or risk themselves to receive less money
  • Candidates will only look for a job if they get unemployed or are put on unpaid leave
  • Candidates will remain in their jobs unless they found themselves in danger

4.1 What are the most impacted jobs?

Although the average salary in UAE is higher than in many Arab countries and that many cities in this country are a great place to live, people still have faced some challenges, particularly for some job positions more than for others.

The hiring in the UAE experienced a 50% decline in comparison with other markets, and in April, there were 60% fewer interview invitations in relation to February. The most impacted jobs were marketing, teaching, sales, HR, and customer service. Admin, IT, finance, and engineering have also been affected but to the least extent.

5. Has the working hours been reduced?

How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE? It has also affected the working schedule for workers. Many companies have opted for remote working, but although it’s a great temporary solution, they also have decided to cut the working hours for their employees.

When the company chooses remote working, they ensure that its remote team’s goals are aligned with the business. Still, they can also make other decisions that can benefit the organization, like working fewer hours to be more productive.

What are some of the measures taken by companies in relation to working hours?

  • Most companies opted for a reduced 4-day work week
  • Some employers have asked their teams to work part-time

5.1 Do employers have an alternative?

Employees that are looking for the highest salary in UAE don’t really have an alternative for all of these measures that have been enforced by companies. If they’re currently working they can’t risk losing their job, so they can only adapt to the changes and expect that everything gets better soon.

6. How long will this situation last?

How has COVID-19 impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE? As you may seem, many areas are affected by the pandemic situation, so it’s logical to ask how long this will last because we all want to get back to normal.

It’s a situation that can last at least until January 2021 or even more, for this reason, many companies have taken measures to reduce commitment with outsourced partners, so they can save expenses and try to cope with the financial situation.

6.1 How long will it take to salaries to grow?

Many people wonder: what is a good salary in Abu Dhabi? Because they’re probably searching for another opportunity, but the truth is that it’s better to wait until wages grow to receive a better income.

When are salaries going to start growing again?

  • When companies re-invent themselves for the new normal
  • When companies opt for better technology that allows them to enhance their productivity
  • When companies choose efficient processes and decide what to stop and what they should continue doing

Most analysts expect salaries to continue being lower up to 2021, but employees shouldn’t be worried because the UAE has experienced records in going back to normal from global events.

6.2 How long will shorter workweeks last?

In relation to shorter work weeks, it’s also expected to remain in some companies that have remote teams working for them. But it is expected a full recovery once everything gets back to normal and businesses find the return of their customers.

7. What are the best advice for candidates during this challenging time?

The fact that there’s has been a reduction in salaries in the UAE doesn’t mean that you have to stop looking for a job; on the contrary, you have the opportunity to find something that fills your expectation.

Even if you’re looking for a permanent job, but you get offered a temporary one, you should take it, because there are many opportunities that you can’t miss, and it’s a great one that can provide you with many benefits.

So, what are the best tips that you have to follow as an employee during this time? Let’s observe:

  • Develop your full potential and see this experience as an opportunity to grow
  • Don’t be afraid to change your career path, whether for moving to a new industry or changing your career.
  • Be open to change and prove that you can do more in your current organization

If you’re a job seeker, you should know that the gradual reopening of the economy in the UAE is an excellent chance for you to find a good job. So, what are the best tips in your case? Let’s observe:

  • Be prepared to expect a 15-20% lower salary package in comparison to the pre-COVID-19 period
  • Adopt an open-minded attitude and don’t be afraid to take new jobs in a different area
  • Continue learning and developing your skills so you can increase your chances of being selected
  • Consider temporary or contracted jobs as an opportunity to grow professionally
  • Prepare yourself to face challenges as a candidate, but don’t be afraid of the competition in your field
  • Develop a positive attitude and create plans for the future.
Connect Resources

8. How can Connect Resources help you overcome these challenges?

Once that, you know the answer to the question: How COVID-19 has impacted jobs and salaries in the UAE? You’re probably feeling discouraged to look for a job, but you don’t have to worry, because Connect Resources is readily available to help you.

With Connect Resources, you have the perfect ally that can help you find your dreamed job. Although some current conditions might not be ideal, you still can get a significant position in a company that is looking for a worker with your skills and qualifications.

Connect Resources has significant initiatives towards COVID-19, so its team of experts can correctly understand what you’re going through, and it can provide you an excellent solution to your job-seeking requirements.

Would you like to contact Connect Resources to solve your job searching needs? You can call at +971 433 166 88 or send an email to, and you’ll talk to one of their representatives that will gladly answer all of your questions.

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