How much more would you be paid in KSA than UAE?

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It’s 2024 and Saudi Arabia’s deadline for companies to move their regional headquarters has passed.
In recent years, the region has seen many companies set up their offices in the Kingdom.

Companies are moving and with them, people are too. The question is how does the pay compare in 2024?

A released Salary guide by MCG Talent highlights the salaries for the creative industry in the UAE and KSA for  2024.

The guide covers salaries across the creative, marketing, PR & communications and digital sectors.

If you moved to KSA, the salary range would differ on the basis of seniority and industry.

The salary figures were mentioned in both the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) for UAE and Saudi Riyal (SAR) for KSA.

For reference, the conversion is AED 10,000 is equivalent to SAR 10,211.16 approximately, as of the date of writing.

Most junior roles across the board net a lower salary in KSA than those in senior roles across the industry.

Among these, copywriters in KSA seem to be paid more in the KSA among similar position roles in the creative sector.

The copywriters’ role is paid at an approximate salary of 18,000 to 24,000 in the KSA compared to the UAE’s 15,000 to 20,000.

In comparison, similar entry levels positions such as Digital Designer or Graphic Designer get paid at a lower scale of 15,000 to 18,000 in the UAE. These are paid similarly in the KSA.

The trend continues for more senior level copywriters.

On the top end of the creative table lie the Executive Creative Director and Chief Creative Director.

On the strategy side of things, the pays are considerable higher in comparison to the UAE. With the salary brackets increasing by atleast 3,000 to 5,000 in SAR.

Marketers rise above the rest

In the marketing segment, there is a significant increase in the salaries across all roles.

This is prominent in the client side marketing and public relations role. On the agency side, positions handling digital, social and CRM also show a strong rise.

Under these roles, some of the ending salary brackets in the UAE are the starting figures in KSA.

For example, an Account Executive is paid 12,000 to 15,000 in the UAE, but is paid 15,000 to 20,000 in KSA, approximately.

These figures are mostly seen on the client side roles in Saudi.

Media sales sector also shows a significant increase in the salary brackets between both countries.

Most positions, ranging from junior to senior, have a bracket difference of atleast 5,000. The same positions in Saudi Arabia net a higher salary than their UAE counterparts.

PR and Communications in Saudi Arabia

The salary ranges for PR and communication professionals in Saudi Arabia varies significantly.

At junior levels, the pay scale is on the higher end in the UAE. As the positions climb higher, KSA takes the lead with higher salaries.

Should you move for a pay raise?

Andrew Royston, Senior Client Manager at MCG Talent offers advice for individuals considering a move to the UAE or Saudi.

He highlights the importance of understanding the cultural significance and maintaining realistic expectations.

“Realistic expectations are crucial. Understand the cultural differences and be prepared for a unique working environment.”

He also recommends “coming for the right reasons”.  The include things such as career progression and experience, which he deems to be more important than an immediate substantial pay raise.