The Middle East Security Salary Survey – SSR Recruitment
Andrew Hudson, ME Director, SSR Recruitment
The SSR & Executive Profiles global salary survey reviews more than 4000 security professionals (nationals and expatriate) with data gathered from the finance sector, manufacturing, extractives, FMCG and logistics. In 2016 the predicted salary increase for top management roles in the Middle East by Towers Watson will be on average 4.5 per cent with increases in Jordan and Lebanon of over 7 per cent .
In many countries this will lead to wage inflation as the cost of living increases in the region are predicted to be from 1.8 per cent in Oman and up to 3.5 per cent in KSA. We are also seeing a reduction or zero inflation in the cost of accommodation, reducing a major cost for most people. The first two months of 2016 saw rental prices in Dubai drop by 1.65 per cent and by 10 per cent from the same period the previous year.
The main export commodity for most Middle East countries has been crude oil, but this has been volatile over the last 18 months dropping from trading prices of above $100 a barrel to below $50 a barrel and slowly rising again. The majority of government revenues for most GCC countries are through oil and they have made cuts and reduced subsidies as well as put projects on hold.
At the end of 2015 and first 2 quarters of 2016 saw a slowdown in hiring. In Oil & Gas and construction there has been dramatic headcount reduction. Typically this would include non-essential positions, backroom and admin staff, and this has led to reductions in security roles.
The headcount reduction has led to many people searching for new employment and suddenly the salary package is not the main reason for new employment. Gone are the days where people traded jobs regularly for double digit salary increases but are now seeking stability and a regular income. This has also lead to many being willing to be target driven to earn bonuses rather than a steady larger salary package.
One of the biggest challenges for Western Expatriates has been the high school fees. Whilst everything seems to be slowing down, education fees continue to rise. Whilst Asian curriculum schools remain relatively affordable, British and American Curriculum schools have continuously raised costs. Therefore the total remuneration demands from Western expatriates is often much higher than their Asian counterparts.
Over the last two years with increasing risk of terrorist actions we are seeing a greater deployment of technology (video surveillance, access control perimeter protection, etc) by both governments and the private sector. There is a growing awareness that sophisticated electronics can play a major role in meeting todays security needs. This calls for a different type of professional who has the knowledge of planning and designing such integrated systems.
With a back drop of greater ME security risks how does the security profession measure its worth?
Board room dashboards measure the threats from high risk environments, disruption through a range of issues; increasing local tensions; the threat of civil war; insider threats in a diversified work force; local customs and practices; facilitation payments presented as retro discounting. How do you stop local management going rogue? Corporations increasingly want to take back their routes to markets to increase profits; rather than a lower risk strategy of delivering to regional wholesalers. This just depends on the Board having an appetite to be in Afghanistan, Yemen or South Sudan. In dangerous or high-risk environments then the safety of employees and their families has to be high on the list. Residential security, route planning, evacuation plans, etc, are just some of the areas the typical security manager has to contend with.
Crisis management is an important topic for any company working globally or in hazardous areas and the formation of a Crisis policy is paramount for the security manager. A well orchestrated document outlining the procedures to take in the time of a crisis, can prove to be of immense value to any organisation.
We find that in the main many regional security people sell short their expertise and fail to implement the main Boards global dashboard. This can be due to the top tier local management being devoid of imagination, expertise or management training. Where local management capability is strong, security functions thrive as high risk environments equates to more profit. Each year SSR will interview a number of Chief Security Officers so that we can understand how corporate thinking will shape future resources. The trend is towards higher risks being taken by corporations, due in part to the more international representation of management in the c-suite, increasing risk; acceptance for profit – so it is important that the security function can be relied upon to mitigate risk, cash management and people safety through developing robust reputational standards . This is against a back drop of reducing expatriate costs, or paying only a local plus remuneration, as more non-nationals have family ties locally and for quality of life they are opting to stay in the region. A recent role in Nigeria handled by SSR with a circa USD 110k package, generated great interest with expatriate workers as it was for a multinational corporation.
With manufacturing ever increasingly global and traditional supplier markets, such a China, seeking to bring innovation into their manufacturing , this will present Intellectual Property problems as nations such as China see their secrets now being stolen. The latest National Party Congress decreed how the State and the private sector should be interlocked to ensure success and a payment of a success fee between the parties. No different to Japan post WW2, China will find that after a long period of being the accumulator of other counties IP, they will need to strengthen their own legislation protections and prosecute through the international courts. We are seeing a strong demand for cyber professionals distinctly separate to IT disciplines, focused on employees where we see 84 per cent attacks facilitated by the insider.
What on average will a Regional Security Director manage in resources or influence in expense spending?
Our survey shows a minimum revenue budget of USD 1m. Capital expense can be stratospheric but on average annual expenditure of USD 15m will be influenced by an RSD.
The establishment of the Chartered Security Professionals Register from London, with an enthusiastic supporter in the Dubai Police Academy, is a significant step towards developing a cohort of recognised functional heads of security who, by experience and education, have delivered to organisations outstanding security practice. This will be the bench mark that organisations will come to rely upon going forward, that they have not attracted a corporate cop but a business manager with whom security risks will be well managed.