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Learning new skills and taking on more responsibility are some of the main reasons why Middle East-based IT staff would change jobs – but a pay increase is the main attraction.
According to the Computer Weekly/TechTarget Salary Survey 2019, 39% of IT workers in the region said they would change their position for more money.
This was the main reason in all job categories questioned apart from architects, where the main reason for changing jobs was to learn new skills for 77% of them. Learning new skills was the second most popular reason for changing jobs overall, with 21% of respondents citing this.
When it comes to salaries in Middle East IT, C-level executives are the top earners, taking home an average of €121,000 a year. Directors of IT earn an average of €107,000, while architects are on €93,000, managers €72,000, analysts €53,000 and IT staff €42,000.
Less popular reasons for changing jobs were improving work/life balance (15%), to get a senior title (11%), and to have more responsibility (9%).
When it comes to work/life balance, 94% of IT staff in the region work at home at some point. According to the survey, 50% of respondents only do this occasionally – less than one day a week, on average. A total of 12% work from home at least one day a week, 21% a few days a week, 9% always work from home and 6% never do.
The survey found the most in-demand roles for Middle East IT departments were in architecture and development, with about 30% of companies looking to recruit in this area. Cyber security was the next most in-demand category, with 16% of organisations looking for experts in these areas, followed closely by business analysts at 15%.
Demand for the latest digital skills will grow in the Middle East as countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia diversify their economies to reduce reliance on oil and focus on sectors such as transport, education and healthcare.
Retaining staff is a challenge in the region, with IT professionals often coming from overseas for short periods of time.
Middle East governments are trying to address this by reducing reliance on imported skills with initiatives such as the opening of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Abu Dhabi.
Read more about digital developments in the Middle East
- With its young and educated population, Saudi Arabia has the potential to become a hub for tech innovation.
- Bahrain Central Bank wants the Middle East island state to become a regional hub for financial technology startups (fintechs).
- Abu Dhabi’s fledgling artificial intelligence university is part of a highly ambitious 30-year plan to transform the UAE’s economy and culture.