HelperChoice Salary Survey: Areas where Middle Eastern Employers Pay Domestic Helpers the Least and the Most
HelperChoice, the online platform that matches employers with domestic workers at no cost to helpers, analysed data from close to 2,000 recent job ads posted by its users between January and August 2017. The salary of foreign domestic workers in the Middle East does not include the food allowance, costs of accommodation, agency fees, flight costs or medical benefits.
For the second year, The United Arab Emirates pay the highest salary among the Gulf countries, nevertheless, it is still quite below some Asian countries or cities like Hong Kong which offers a monthly wage about 12% higher. The average monthly salary offered to helpers is USD494 in the United Arab Emirates, USD450 in Qatar, USD442 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and USD419 in Kuwait.
This is very encouraging for foreign domestic workers (FDW) as the survey shows a great increase in the average salary compared to last year. In the UAE, the average monthly salary increased by 14%, in Kuwait by 7.4%, in Qatar by 4.4%. Only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the salary is steady.
Data shows that domestic workers tend to earn more in big cities. Dubai is in the first position offering USD530 (about AED1,943) far in front of the second city which offers the highest salary to domestic workers, namely Kuwait City (USD471). Three employers even proposed a QAR3,000 (USD813) salary in Doha and an employer proposed an AED3,500 salary (USD954) in Abu Dhabi, the two highest salaries recorded in our database of job ads.
There are some striking differences with HelperChoice salary survey of last year: even if Dubai is still in the first position, Doha is only 4th (while ranked 2nd last year) while Jeddah is not in the top 5 anymore. The increase by 7.5% of the monthly salary in Kuwait City makes the city the second city of this ranking, widening the gap with other cities of the country like Hawally (USD119 monthly salary) or Ahmadi (USD113).
Even if Riyadh is in the 5th position (against 4th last year), Khobar and Makkah are the cities offering the lowest salaries in the Middle East and a fortiori in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with USD365 and USD360 respectively.
In HelperChoice job ads, employers can also fill in the minimum number of years of experience required for their helper. Surprisingly enough, the locations in which the salary is the highest are not the cities in which the required number of years of experience is also the highest.
For instance, in Qatar, in Ar Rayyan the numbers of experience required is about 2.8 years and the average salary is QAR1,456 (USD395) while the in Al Khawr the average minimum of years required is less than 1 year but the proposed monthly salary is QAR1,617 (USD438), that is to say, employers in Al Khawr propose 10% more for less experienced domestic workers.
In the United Arab Emirates, the study reveals that employers in Abu Dhabi a looking for domestic workers with a minimum one year and a half experience on average with an average salary of AED1,726 (USD470) while in Ras al-Khaimah, employers propose AED1,525 (USD416) for more than 5 years’ experience.
Legislation regarding the domestic worker conditions also vary a lot and should also be taken into account when comparing the salaries between the Middle Eastern countries. For instance, Qatar landmark decree on August 22, 2017, sought to better regulate the domestic work scene in this country with, in particular, a prescribed maximum of 10 working hours per day and the signature of a contract between domestic worker and employer.