(MENAFN - Arab News) The average annual salaries of Saudi and expatriate workers is expected to jump by 5.8 percent in 2013, according a survey of 66 companies in the Kingdom by Dubai-based Aon Hewitt consulting firm.
The salary raises in Saudi Arabia were larger than expected increases in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. But the Kingdom trailed badly behind Egypt, which expects a 9.5 percent increase in wages, and Jordan, which anticipates a 6.6 percent rise in salary for 2013, according to the survey.
Bahrain's private companies raised salaries this year by 4.4 percent and anticipates increases by 4.7 percent for 2013. Oman's private sector salaries rose 5.4 percent this year, and expect a slight uptick of 0.2 percent for 2013. Qatar anticipates wage increases from the private sector to jump by 5.6 percent in 2013.
Martin McGuigan, chief of Reward Consulting, Aon Hewitt Middle East, told Arab News: "We're seeing how the job market is growing in the Kingdom, which is leading to complete changes. This survey was done among private sector organizations, it doesn't include government sectors."
McGuigan said the Saudi government is already increasing salaries of its public employees, which led the private sector to be competitive.
The report is based on answers provided by 500 Gulf companies from 26 sectors. Overall, a 6.08 percent salary increase is forecast in 2013 for the Middle East, with an average salary hike of 5.4 percent for the GCC.
The survey was conducted in nine countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The salary hikes have remained consistent for Saudi workers since 2011, "indicating that organizations continue to show confidence in the economic stability of the region and optimism for future growth," according to the report.
The IT sector has been particularly lucrative with salaries increasing in the Middle East by 7.2 percent, compared to just 4.4 percent in telecommunications.
The report also stated that foreign-owned companies in Saudi Arabia offered a 6.6 percent salary increase compared to 4.8 percent by Saudi-owned companies.
The report also noted that fewer Middle East companies are considering salary freezes. In Saudi Arabia, private companies that froze salaries in 2012 accounted for 6.3 percent of all companies surveyed, but frozen wages was expected to drop to 4.9 percent by 2013.
"All macro-indicators have shown that the economic scenario continues to move in a positive direction with corporates continuing to show confidence in the 2013 economic outlook," McGuigan said.
"At large, there are no further reductions in the salary increase projections for the next year which is good news for employees. We have also observed that organizations have increasingly been linking salary increases with performance, which is a healthy trend and indicates the increasing maturity level of the market."