According to the survey, which included more than 500 companies in the region, while 10 percent of Emirati companies temporarily cut their employees’ salaries during the current year due to the Coronavirus epidemic, the market in general witnessed positive salary inflation.

For his part, Mercer’s Middle East Employment Products Manager, Ted Raful, said it is very encouraging to see this rise in wages despite the economic challenges.

Raful pointed out that despite the continuing uncertainty in 2021, Emirati companies are making progress towards enhancing their business strategies, with expectations that most of these companies will equip a new process to continue developing permanent policies.

According to the Mercer survey, the wages of workers in the life sciences sector in the UAE, especially in pharmacy and health care, recorded the highest increase, at 4.5 percent, followed by wages in the consumer goods sector at 3.5 percent, 3 percent for high-tech employees, and 2 6 percent of employees in the energy sector.

While the Mercer report confirmed that the direct impact of the Coronavirus on wages and benefits was less severe than initially feared, it noted that most of the decisions related to the current year’s budget and salaries were taken early in the year, and that about 17 in 100% of companies postponed their salary increases during 2020, due to the repercussions of the Corona epidemic, and it was usually for about 6 months.

Wages are expected to rise again in the UAE over the next year, with estimates of an average of 4 percent for employees in the labor market in general.

However, projections show that wages will vary according to sectors, with estimates of a significant increase in the wages of the life sciences sector by 4.5 percent, while the energy sector will continue to achieve the lowest salary increase of 1.9 percent.

On the other hand, the survey revealed that about 25 percent of companies achieved an increase in productivity, due to their employees working from home.

In the UAE, about 66 percent of companies have devised new remote work policies, while about 25 percent of them had developed such policies earlier.

On the other hand, the director of workforce products at Mercer, Carolina Forester, said that despite these high salary indicators, uncertainty is expected to continue during the next year.