Over half of CEOs in GCC expect a higher bonus this year

19 March 2024 Consultancy-me.com 2 min. read

Following a good year for businesses in the GCC, a larger number of CEOs are expecting to receive a bonus for their performance. This is according to a study from executive search firm Cooper Fitch.

In its annual CEO Study, which canvassed the views of CEOs on topics including company and individual priorities, key achievements and compensation & benefits, Cooper Fitch has found that CEOs in the region are riding the wave of a buoyant outlook – including in their own wallets.

More than four-fifths (83%) of CEOs is expecting to receive a bonus this year relating to their performance over the past twelve months, an uptick of 8% on the same period last year.

Over half of CEOs in GCC expect a higher bonus this year

Notably, more than half (56%) of the CEOs surveyed expect their bonuses to be higher than last year, with only 8% projecting a year-on-year reduction in their bonuses.

There are differences across countries, however. In the UAE, 70% of the CEOs are expecting larger bonuses, compared to 47% in Saudi Arabia. In the Kingdom, around two-fifths (39%) of top leaders anticipate no change in their annual bonuses, and 14% expect to receive smaller bonuses this year, while in comparison, all UAE-based CEOs anticipate that their bonus will at the minimum remain at the same level.

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When asked by how much they expect their bonus pay cheque to change, the highest proportion (29%) of CEOs surveyed said they were anticipating an uptick of between 1% and 10%. A small group of 4% of CEOs – those who self-rate their companies (or themselves) as a top performer – expect their bonus to double vis a vis the previous level.

Over a quarter (27%) of CEOS anticipate a bonus equivalent to 1-3 months of their annual salary, and 42% say their amount will be equal to 4-6 months of pay.

In its analysis, Cooper Fitch further noted that the use of longterm incentive plans still is relatively low in the GCC. In mature economies, the use of such plans is at over 75% found a previous benchmark from Aon, used mainly due to its focus on long term leadership retention and for its ability to defer compensation to major milestones in the future.

In the GCC meanwhile, more than half (52%) of the businesses do not have longterm incentive plan incorporated into their compensation package. “We expect this figure to fall over the coming years as regional markets continue to mature,” said Jack Khabbaz, Managing Partner and Head of CEO Practice at Cooper Fitch.

Recent research from Heidrick & Struggles found that CEOs in the Middle East are among the youngest in the world, while another study by PwC placed CEOs in the region among the most positive on planet earth.