Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Good news for employees in UAE

Pay to rise faster than inflation in 2014

Ask anyone about the cost of living today, and you're likely to be discussing rising rents, surging food bills, escalating cost of children's education, as well as the price of clothing, travel and a whole lot of other day-to-day items.

What doesn’t seem to be edging up, however, is salaries we earn, right? Wait until 2014, says new research from professional services firm Towers Watson, which says that, next year, we are all going to earn more than what inflation will take away from us.

Employees in the UAE can expect average pay increases of 5 per cent in 2014, it says, and adds that inflation will average 2.5 per cent, resulting in an increase in disposable income, or the real pay hike, to the tune of 2.5 per cent.

Rising rentals, the primary worry of UAE employees, will be more than offset by employers looking to retain talent, the firm maintains. Towers Watson expects annual housing allowances to be closely monitored by companies in the UAE in 2014 to ensure levels remain competitive following significant increases in rental costs in the past year.

For the past two years housing allowances for executives have increased by 9 per cent while management level employees received increases of 5 per cent and professionals 2 per cent, according to Towers Watson research.

In a poll of HR professionals attending Towers Watson’s recent Data Services General Industry Forum, 40 per cent stated that they had recently reviewed their employee housing allowance policies.

“2014 will be challenging for organisations as they will need to balance their ability to recruit and retain the best talent, whilst also ensuring remuneration costs do not exceed company budgets,” said Billy Turriff, Business Leader for Data Services & Technology at Towers Watson.

“UAE pay awards are broadly in line with other countries across the Gulf and with the lowest anticipated inflation in the region, real income rises in the UAE are predicted to be second only to Kuwait,” he added.

The results show healthy pay rises across the Middle East with salary increases in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, all between 5 and 6 per cent.

Projected pay increases by GCC countries in 2014:
Country  Avg Pay Hike 
Proj. Inflation 
Real Pay Hike for employees
Saudi Arabia5.5%3.3%2.2%
“In a fast moving and rapidly growing economy such as the UAE, circumstances change quickly and companies often find their pay policies out of date if they are not monitored closely and refreshed regularly,” concluded Turriff.

Customer feedback


I am more than happy to provide some feedback on the Services provided by HelpXPat. Actually I’ve been VERY impressed from start to finish…

I had several calls with Simi to kick things off and a fantastic orientation tour of Dubai with Diane, which my wife participated in also. Diane is a consummate professional and expert on Dubai having lived here for many years and took us around all of different areas and residential/developments, advising where is good and where is not, pro’s and con’s of different locations and properties. She understood exactly what we were looking for in terms of housing and location ie. wanting to be in a villa near the Jebel Ali/Marina side of town. We spent the full day driving around Dubai with Diane and we gleamed all sorts of useful stuff from her – saw parts of Dubai we had never seen before and by the end of the day, had viewed about a half a dozen different villas and homed in on a particular area (Jumeirah Park), so very useful.

When I arrived in Dubai, I was very well looked after. I met with Diane again on the first day, to do the “Home Search”. They had provided a full list of properties to view on Jumeirah Park (our preferred location) with different Agencies, all within budget and with a few different options (Landscaped, pool yes/no etc.). I think we had about ten villas to view but view an additional half a dozen or so, as Diane knew some of the Agencies/contacts personally. By the end of the day, we had selected a property which we were very pleased with.

Simi took over after we had selected the villa on Jumeirah Park and got everything sorted very quickly. Simi is a one-off – very professional, super-responsive and took all the stress out of moving, from my perspective. She organized everything related to the Villa and everything was finalized very quickly. She personally drove me around the various different Agencies to organize Driving License, Alcohol License, eGate, etc. Simi organized my DEWA connection, helped with teething problems at the Villa (no water, no electric, no Hot Water) and organized the Cleaning of the Villa using her contacts. I can’t think of a better person to deal with than Simi, when relocating internationally – honestly.

Overall, very impressed with services provided by HelpXPat – thank you to Simi and Diane for their help with the orientation, Home Search and local formalities during the first few weeks. Only thing left is moving my stuff from UK to Manchester, which Simi will be taking care of once I have a date (probably January) and then my Wife will move in due course.

Thanks for your support – much appreciated.

Kind Regards,

For any relocation support, please contact HelpXpat on

Monday, 2 December 2013

UAE events calendar: December 2013

Head to Al Ain for the aerobatic show, until December 2. Tickets at
BidiBondi Movember closing party, 1pm. Free of charge; registered Mo-bros and Mo-sisters get 20 per cent discount. Call 04-4270515.
It’s the UAE’s 42nd National Day. For a full list of events, visit
Check out Off The Rails, an art exhibition at The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, with works by Abu Dhabi artist Noor Al Suweidi. Until December 7.
Healing Art exhibition by Wilma Burton at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana Abu Dhabi, until December 4.
Punchline Comedy Club, with Wayne Deakin, Dave Johns and Daniel Townes, at Danat Hotel Al Ain, 9pm. Tickets, Dh150, at Also at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel on December 5 and Abu Dhabi Golf Club on December 6.
Watch Trashed, a documentary featuring actor Jeremy Irons, with The Scene Club, at Dubai Knowledge Village Conference Centre, 8pm. Tickets free but need to be booked at; collect by 7pm before an hour of networking with fellow film enthusiasts.

Swiss Arabian’s Lamhe, a tribute to Indian music of the 1950s-70s, with a tribute to the late Manna Dey, at Crowne Plaza Dubai, 9pm. Tickets Dh350 and Dh250 (including buffet dinner); Dh150 and Dh100 seating is theatre style; call 04-3373724.
The Movenpick Jumeirah Beach lights its Christmas tree, with help from Santa. 7-8.30pm. In Abu Dhabi, the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri will be lighting up and selling hampers for charity, from 7.30pm.
Dubai Drama Group presents Steven Berkoff’s stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, at thejamjar, Al Quoz, 7:30pm.  Entry is by donation and seating is free. 
At the movies: Its Saving Santa, a computer-animated comedy film. Enough Said, a sharp, insightful comedy exploring the mess that comes with getting involved and Rambo Rajkumar directed by Prabhu Deva starring Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha
Dubai Christmas Festival at Media City Amphitheatre (until December 7). Go to
Graffiti artist Ruben Sanchez will turn a blank wall in Safa Park into an Expo 2020-themed work of art (legally!). Watch him from 2-5pm at The Archive.
Red Bull Soundclash at Dubai International Marine Club from 8pm, with Wust Al Balad and Autostrad.
We Are 9, Cypress Hill headline Infusion’s celebration, at Atlantis, tickets Dh250 (advance) and Dh290 on the door.
Sharon Cuneta and KC Conception, at Dubai Wonderland, show at 9.30pm. Tickets Dh100-300, on 055-9979474.
Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) begins. For full schedule and ticket details, go to dubaifilmfest
Documentary Voices, a non-profit film education initiative this year focuses on ‘Children and Cinema’, until December 14. Workshops and lectures at Total Arts (Courtyard) Gallery and AM Studio in Al Quoz; contact
You Are Beautiful, an art exhibition and auction in aid of female education in Pakistan, featuring the works of 10 Pakistani artists, at The Designers Gallery, JLT, 6-9pm. Call 050-4216601.
Stollen charity cake sale, with chefs from the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates baking 600 metres of German Christmas fruit cake – using 2,210 eggs, 600 kilograms of flour, 278 kilograms of raisins and 55 kilograms of marzipan. Slices (Dh5), half cakes (Dh50) and full cakes (Dh100) will be sold for Dubai Centre for Special Needs, from 10am.
South African comedian Barry Hilton at The Gramercy, DIFC (also December 9). Show at 9pm, Dh175 including a drink; Dh350 with a three-course dinner and a drink. Call 04-4377511.
Check out u/c: under construction, an exhibition by British Artist Michael David Bosworth at Coral Beach Resort – Sharjah, until xxx.
More Cafe book club looks at The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling), 6.30pm at DIFC. Group limited to 12 people, RSVP
Women’s Exhibition until December 14 at Dubai World Trade Centre, featuring products and services for women, as well as fashion designs, beauty, health and the culinary art.
Gingerbread factory and lighting of the Christmas tree at Sheraton Abu Dhabi, 4-7pm, Dh135 per child, Dh95 for adults; call 02-6773333.
Gucci’s House of Artisans at The Dubai Mall atrium until December 15, with craftspeople making the brand’s handbags (including the Bamboo, pictured), shoes, fine jewellery and silk scarves in front of customers. Archival pieces on loan from Florence’s Gucci Museo will also be on display.
Mother, Baby & Child show at Dubai International Exhibition Centre (until December 14) has a winter wonderland theme, with education and edutainment, food, cooking demonstrations and appearances by Star Wars storm troopers, Lala Loopy and Father Christmas. Tickets Dh65 (advance, giving priority entrance to see Father Christmas); Dh125 per person on the door. The Very Snowy Holiday theatre show for 3-7 year olds.
McGettigan’s brings Irish comedians PJ Gallagher & Dave McSavage to Almas Tower, JLT, show at 9pm, tickets Dh120 at McGettigan’s JLT and DWTC.
At the movies: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug brings together Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage; For Kids there’s Tarzan, an animated motion capture, family film.
The Prodigy, Calvin Harris play Creamfields Abu Dhabi, at du Arena, Yas Island. Tickets from Dh275. Go to
Susan Boyle performs a Christmas concert at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Tickets from Dh250 at
Asha Bosle performs at Dubai World Trade Centre. Tickets, Dh100-2,000 (various categories) at 050-2254010.
Groove On The Grass festival with Ricardo Villalobos, at Emirates Golf Club, tickets Dh160 (early bird), at, Dh250 on the door.
Sharmila Dance Gala, performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm at DUCTAC. Tickets Dh155/200 at Virgin Megastore.
Jam Night at Maxx Music Bar & Grill, Citymax Hotels Al Barsha, with 25 jammers from 9.30pm. Takes place every second Friday of the month.
It’s the last night of Diff, with the screening of American Hustle. The film’s star Christian Bale is rumoured to be on the red carpet. Stay tuned to @gulfnewstabloid for updates!
Eva Longoria hosts the Global Gift Gala at supperclub Dubai, Jumeriah Zabeel Saray. For tickets, write to
The Color Run [CQ], a 5k at Dubai Autodrome (entries are now closed).
Numaish winter show, a fashion exhibition at The Address Hotel Dubai Mall .
DUCTAC’s Kids Christmas Art Camp, until December 19, for children aged 6-11, making festive decorations, drawing, painting, crafts and more. Daily 10am-1.30pm; five-day course Dh900. Call 04-3414777.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony  in true festive style at the Al Raha Beach Hotel Lobby, 6pm-7pm  
Cabinet of Curiosities by Jaime Puebla, an exhibition of photographs shot in the UAE by Jaime Puebla at Gulf Photo Plus, Al Serkal Avenue.
Middle East Film and Comic Con workshop, at The Magazine Shop, Media City. Entry free. RSVP on
Visit the Souk Festive Market (from December17-27) at Madinat Jumeirah, open 3pm-midnight on weekdays; 1pm-midnight on weekends, with seasonal food and beverage snacks such as roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, a giant snow globe, an ice rink, Santa surfing, a reindeer rodeo, Santa’s grotto and the North Pole Train.
Chicago Broadway Musical, the incredibly popular and famous Broadway musical is coming to Dubai World Trade Centre. Until January 3.
At the movies: Bollywood’s Dhoom 3, starring Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and Abhishek Bachchan
Beauty and the Beast, a family show by Barnyard Productions at Madinat Jumeirah,7pm. Tickets, Dh250-350, at Shows also December 21-24 (11am and 3pm); December 26-28 (3pm and 7pm); December 29-30 (11am and 3pm); December 31 (3pm).
Baby Bazaar, a monthly flea market for mums to sell pre-loved baby, toddler and maternity items (held on the third Saturday of the month), at Foutouh Al Khair Mall, 10am-2pm. Visit or call 050-5532048.
UAE Contrast of Time, an exhibition by established and upcoming photographers from the UAE Goodwill Photographers group, at Art Couture, Al Badia Golf Club, until January 7.
BookMunch Cafe is bringing you glad tidings of good cheer with the best of Christmas fun and food, all children eating at BookMunch between will get a free gingerbread cookie with candy and frosting to decorate with. 
Check out Lines and Colors an Arabic calligraphy exhibition with works by 10 Arab and Iranian artists, until December 25 at Pro Art Gallery, Palm Strip, Jumeirah Beach Road.
Merry Christmas! For listings of Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day offers, check
High Impact Festival, at Meydan (also December 27) with performers from Africa and Asia. Headliners on 26 are P-Square, Mr. Vegas, Lira and Mafikizolo. Open to all ages; from 4pm-3am. Tickets, Dh299/545 at Virgin Megastores.
For table reservations, call 050-7486540.
At the movies: The Wolf of Wall Street based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, P.J. Byrne, and Jonah Hill.
Filipino rock band Eraserheads perform at High Impact Festival, Meydan, tickets Dh259/399.
Nabil Nahas’ second solo exhibition at Lawrie Shabibi, presenting Fractals, his best-known series, and his Galactic paintings. Until January 9.
El Moulid, a group exhibition by 15 Contemporary Egyptian artists exploring a unique cultural phenomenon at Gallery Ward
Eyes Wide Open - An Afghan Journey, a photo exhibition by Pia Torelli at Alliance Francaise, Oud Metha, Dubai. Works will be for sale. Until December 31.
It’s New Year’s Eve! Amid fireworks at Atlantis, Burj Khalifa and Emeli Sande and Pete Tong at Atlantis, there are a host of events taking place across the UAE. Check for updates.
Updated by Simi from HelpXpat