Close to 50% workers said they did not get a salary hike during 2016, according to 2017 Bayt.com Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

More than half of workers in the UAE expect an increase in their pay packet this year, according to a survey.

Close to 50% workers said they did not get a salary hike during 2016, according to 2017 Bayt.com Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey, conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov.

Among those who did receive a raise, 49% were very happy or modestly happy. Nearly half of workers (44%) believe salaries are rising in the country while 24% say they are staying at the same levels, according to the survey.

Over half of UAE respondents (55%) claim that they are planning on finding a better job in the same industry within a year.

Around 15% of respondents will look for a better job in a different country in the Middle East.

A fifth (19%) of respondents have seen their cost of living rise 6-10% with increases in rent, food and beverage and utilities being the most common, the study found.

A majority (71%) believe that the cost of living in the UAE is going to increase in 2017.

It is interesting to note that 64% of UAE respondents manage to save a portion of their monthly income, with 63% of those living outside their home country being able to repatriate a portion of their savings to their home country, said Elissavet Vraka, research manager, YouGov.

This is a good sign for both employers and job seekers, as the ability to save and repatriate savings can impact other factors such as employee satisfaction and loyalty towards the company, Vraka said.

Meanwhile, recruitment activity in the UAE and across MENA is beginning to gain momentum after a lull in 2016, according to data released by Bayt.com.

Companies in the region have offered thousands of employment opportunities during the first quarter of the year — more than 32,600 fresh positions for job seekers were advertised between January and March 2017, it said.

The actual numbers are expected to be higher, as the recent data doesn’t take into account the postings made daily through the portal’s CV search tool, Bayt said.