Bahrain workers to get 4.7pc salary rise
Manama, August 31, 2012
The workers in Bahrain are set for a major pay boost next year on the back of improved remuneration in 2012, according to global human resources consultancy Hay Group.
The salaries are set to jump 4.7 per cent following a 3.7 per cent increase last year, said the Hay Group in its report.
Bahrain has one of the highest retention rates in the region, with nearly 15 per cent of the workforce preferring to work with the same employer for more than 20 years, revealed Hay Group consultant Harish Bhatia.
A stable economy, low cost of living, a high percentage of nationals employed across all sectors as well as relatively low inflation rate compared with the rest of the GCC helps Bahrain to retain its workforce, he said.
'Almost 18 to 20 per cent of staff in the banking sector in Bahrain work for 15 to 20 years with the same company,' he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, ahead of the launch of The Compensation Report.
'The economy is more stable here, so there is more reason for people to remain with their companies. In other Gulf countries, you rarely see people staying with a company for so long,' he added.
Around 16,800 employees from 75 companies in Bahrain participated in the annual survey. 'We've seen an increase of 3.5 per cent from last year in terms of salaries, which is quite nominal,' Bhatia said.
Inflation remained steady at 2.5 per cent in Bahrain, which is the only GCC country with an average rate of inflation less than 4 per cent, according to Hay Group consultant Warren D'Cruz.
The increase in wages over the years has been relatively stable in Bahrain, compared with its neighbouring countries, Bhatia noted.
'Bahrain has not seen more than a four to 5 per cent increase in pay compared with other Gulf countries, where you see peaks and troughs of eight to 10 per cent increases,' he said.
'You have a lot more nationals in the workforce, which means you don't see too many movements due to people leaving the country.
'That's why it's a lot more stable in terms of keeping up with the inflation,' he added.
Bahrain's banks are adapting to market demands, sizing bonuses in light of present economic conditions.
'Bahrain's banking sector is quite matured,' remarked Bhatia. 'It's been one of the oldest in the region, with a large number of banks functioning here.'
However, the sector as a whole has not fared very well globally, said the official.
'We've seen from our research that bankers' bonuses have gone down from last year, which shows that they're easy to adapt to market conditions.'
'Bonuses are related to performance of banks, which have been affected by local and international conditions and so they've adjusted to that,' he added.
Disparity in pay scales among expatriates and nationals, which is stark in most GCC countries, is narrow in Bahrain.
'Nationals and expats are paid very close to each other unlike other Gulf countries where there is a big difference,' remarked Bhatia.
'Nationals get paid a lot in the rest of the GCC because of the demographics of the countries. A country like the UAE or Qatar will pay more to their nationals, because there's so few of them,' he added.
The oil and gas industry, followed by banking, emerged as the sectors offering the best pay packages, though they faced similar challenges of retention due to greater movement of staff within those sectors.
The launch, held at the Sheraton Hotel, was attended by around 50 human resources personnel from various sectors in Bahrain.-TradeArabia News Service