Survey Results – Will job seekers drop their salary?

We are seeing a regional trend of jobs being offered to market at lower salaries than ever before and overall packages being squeezed. We recently ran a survey asking our vast LinkedIn network whether they would take a salary cut.

***A quick note here about Inspire Selection’s Linked In network, it should be mentioned that our followers are overwhelmingly professionals, the majority are based in the region and are degree level or professionally qualified, highly networked with an interest in the recruitment market, be that as a job seeker, recent new hire or hiring manager.***

We have observed that some companies seeking to hire highly skilled and educated employees, are offering reduced salaries and benefits compared to the past. Is this a good way of flattening previously inflated salaries or is it taking advantage of the current climate? Keen to know your views.

Our research shows that 65% of respondents would drop their salary expectations if required. Looking into the results we noticed some surprising elements:

  • We were surprised at the seniority of the respondents who said that they would be prepared to drop their salary, of those that said that they would drop their salary for the right role many were senior professionals.
  • Almost all the respondents who had already dropped their salary are working at a manager level.
  • 10% of those who say that they would if they were unemployed have already marked themselves as available for work.
  • Interestingly many those who said that they would not drop their salary currently work in technology in some form or another. In fact, we did not notice anyone who works in technology being open to dropping their salary.

So, what does this show us?

First, we must acknowledge that we have had a tough 12 months and many businesses have not performed to their expectations and therefore unfortunately have had to lay off staff and just do not have the budget to pay salaries like before. However, global pandemic aside, we see some other trends emerging here.

A picture containing outdoor, building, city, several

Description automatically generated As many of our commentators on the post remarked, the UAE is no longer seen as a ‘hardship post’ and those working in the region find it harder to command large salaries and the traditional packages which once were synonymous with a posting in the Middle East. The demographic of those working in the region is changing, and employers know that they do not have to pay the large salaries anymore – there are high calibre people in the market who will work for less than before.

We also noted from the comments that people believe companies are cutting their costs by dropping salaries. Whilst this may be a necessity for some, it is acknowledged that this way of managing costs is short-sighted. One of our respondents noted, recruiting under these circumstances, paying people less because they are desperate, can lead to future problems “As soon as an opportunity for fairness is presented to your new staff they will be gone like a shot and then you will be back to zero. More recruitment costs, more training etc, all of which you could have put into the salary you under offered in the first place.”

What will happen next?

Some industries will continue to offer higher salaries, and we are fortunate that the economy in the UAE is bouncing back and there are many growth industries that are actively hiring and salaries will continue to eb attractive within the region and to entice new expats –

As for those industries and organisations that are cost cutting, both candidates and employers need to seriously consider the impact of replacing staff, or funding growth by offering lower packages. Recruitment is costly and getting it wrong can damage morale and output, as well as the bottom line

The market is tough at the moment, but if you are job hunting, we are pleased to say that we see many companies who are now cautiously optimistic and this region continues to be seen as a leading force in innovation and growth. If you are job hunting – follow our tips and advice on how to land that perfect job

Finally – if you are looking to personally upskill, our partners in the region are offering an exclusive program to help candidates take control and develop their careers


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