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CEOs and managing directors of multinational and local companies earn the highest salaries in Saudi Arabia and the second-highest wages in the entire GCC, according to the Gulf Business 2013 Salary Survey.
While chief executives of global companies earn an average monthly wage of $33,021, those of local companies pocket $25,343. This compares with $31,080 and $22,756 that their peers respectively earn in the UAE. All the amounts are averages taken from Asian, Western and Arab expat salaries.
Banking professionals in Saudi also feature high on the list, with treasury managers earning average monthly salaries of $16,003, branch managers taking home $13,190 and retail/personal managers making around $13,099 per month.
1. CEO/MD, multinational $33,021.6
2. CEO/MD, local company $25,343
3. Banking, treasury manager $16,003
4. Banking, branch manager $13,190
5. Banking, retail/personal banking manager $13,099
6. Information technology, manager $12,010
7. Construction, project manager $11,911
8. Media, public relations manager $11,036.6
9. Media, advertising creative manager $10,904
10. Real estate, manager $10,644.3
Boasting the largest GCC population and high oil revenues, Saudi Arabia will always be the main driver in Middle East recruitment, say experts. This is supported by a growing trend of manufacturing companies opening separate business units in the Kingdom, rather than managing them through the UAE.
"2012 saw a huge government spending programme and this, coupled with a continued high oil price, saw a trickle-down effect," said Ian Giulianotti, associate director HRM Consulting at Nadia.
"The introduction of the nationalisation programme Nataqat' which was introduced in late 2011 had a detrimental effect on smaller and medium sized employers but the green zone highest ranking companies continued to expand their recruitment requirements."
David Greenwood, director sales and marketing, Mackenzie Jones also stated: "KSA has seen a steady increase in salaries. But it has also seen a decrease in the expat work force as Saudisation has become a key goal for the Kingdom."
Despite this, a Western expat will take home the biggest paycheck in Saudi as compared to all GCC countries, especially if working in banking, advertising or construction (Are You Paid According To Your Skin Colour?).
An Arab expat will earn the most in IT and banking, while an Asian expat can make the most across the GCC by working as a treasury manager with a take-home salary of $15,262 per month one of the only jobs in the GCC where an Asian expat makes more than an Arab expat.
"This has been a first choice finance area for Asian professionals for a number of years and there is a pool of highly experienced candidates who can demand a premium for their services," said Giulianotti.
The 2013 Salary Survey was compiled based on inputs from four regional recruitment companies including Nadia, Bayt.com, BAC Middle East and Mackenzie Jones Middle East.
For the full survey, pick up the March edition of Gulf Business, available now.
Read more: Top 10 Salaries In The UAE