14 November 2023

Consider working in the Middle East to save more

Business Name Generator (BNG) has revealed how much 28 cities around the world pay their employees in four employment sectors – marketing, HR, creative, as well as tech.


After analysing annual salaries for five job roles* in the tech industry in 28 cities across the globe, BNG has found that Doha is the highest-paying location for tech heads. In Doha, employees in tech receive an average annual salary of £127,888, with the highest earning salary analysed in the study being that of a data scientist - data scientists earn an average of £361,877 per year.

While salaries are all very well, overheads eat into the money, making disposable income a better indicator of quality of life. The annual cost of living in Doha is £26,382 (including rent and utilities), resulting in the highest disposable income for workers in the tech field overall (£101,506 per year, or £8,459 per month).

Abu Dhabi is ranked 3rd, with average annual salaries of £97,231.61, and an annual cost of living pegged at £24,094.32. Hong Kong comes in 6th (average annual salaries of £88,202.61, and an annual cost of living of £33,882.84), while Singapore is 10th (average annual salaries of £78,072.96, and an annual cost of living of £43,009.08).


Hong Kong is paying HR professionals the most**, with an average salary of £83,818. The highest paying job role analysed in the study is for a Recruitment Manager, who can expect to earn £163,568 per year on average. Average annual salaries were calculated to be £83,818.09, and disposable incomes.

Ranked No. 2 was Abu Dhabi, with annual average salaries of £80,923.03 and average annual disposable incomes of £56,828.71. Singapore was in 4th place, with annual average salaries of £66,229.17 and disposable incomes of £23,220.09. Beijing is 5th (annual average salary £63,844.04, and corresponding disposable income of £48,538.40). Dubai is 7th and Doha is 10th for HR (annual average salaries of £59,426.20 and £56,290.56 respectively, with disposable incomes of £30,004.96 and £29,908.68 respectively).

Seoul, on the other hand, took 2nd place in the list of lowest-paying cities for HR professionals. In Seoul, HR professionals can expect to take home £28,793 per year on average.


Dubai marketers have the best life of all, with salaries*** reaching £107,352 on average. BNG suggested that the high salaries are due to the city trying to attract international talent. Product Marketing Managers are at the marketing pinnacle, earning £224,200 on average per year. Average annual disposable income comes up to £77,930.

The top three cities for marketers are all in the APME region. In No. 2 place is Hong Kong (average annual salary £79,155.27, average annual disposable income £45,272.43), followed by Abu Dhabi (average annual salary £78,997.55, average annual disposable income £54,903.23). Singapore is ranked 6th (average annual salary £70,223.04, average annual disposable income £27,213.96).


When it comes to creatives, APME cities only make 8th, 9th and 10th in the top 10 list. In Dubai, average annual salaries amount to £49,488.86, followed by £47,676.25 in Hong Kong and £47,355.26 in Singapore. Disposable income for Dubai came to £20,067.62, then £13,793.41 for Hong Kong. With annual cost of living pegged at £43,009.08, Singapore creatives were left with £4,346.18 per year for disposable income.

Despite coming in 11th overall with an average annual creative salary of £46,027, Beijing is where creatives can expect to enjoy the highest disposable income. Beijing has a fairly affordable cost of living of £15,306 per year, leaving creatives with a disposable income of £30,721 on average.

Another Asian city is in the top three for disposable income. Tokyo comes in third with an annual disposable income of £26,773. The yearly cost of living there is estimated to be £17,485.

Bangkok tops the list of lowest paying cities for creatives. Residents take home £17,531 on average per year against a fairly low cost of living of £13,110 a year, including rent and utilities. This leaves creatives in Bangkok with an average disposable income of £4,420.

BNG suggests entrepreneurs and digital nomads who are thinking of relocating to:

Do the groundwork

Every country will have its own rules and regulations around things like business tax, import and export costs, and visa requirements.

Consider demand

Make sure to look at the competitiveness of your offerings in your target market, and undertake a feasibility study to understand if this is the right place for your company and whether it makes commercial sense to set up there.

Expand your network

Once you’ve established the right location for your business, it could be beneficial to meet with other businesses which have already set up in your target market. They may be able to provide you with some practical advice, and it’s always good to have a support network around you.

Hire the right experts

Work with local lawyers, accountants, and banks to understand the legal and financial regulations in your chosen country before setting up your business.

If you plan on expanding the company, you’ll also need to think about what kind of staff you’ll need. Surrounding yourself with a local team of specialists is going to be really important for the success of your business. When it comes to the hiring process, it’s important to be aware of any cultural differences that might be in play.

Start on your checklist

To prevent a backlog on your checklist, start with the easier items first, thinking of your new business name for example. BNG's AI-powered business name generator can to help you come up with ideas.

Be patient

Success doesn’t happen overnight, but believing in yourself and your business is the first step to achieving it. By researching, planning, networking, and persevering, you’ll be able to lay a solid foundation on which your business can grow.

*The salaries analysed for tech professionals were data scientist, software developer, information security analyst, computer systems analyst and web developer.

**For HR, the five positions analysed were recruiter, recruitment manager, HR assistant, HR coordinator and HR specialist.

***Marketing assistant, brand ambassador, marketing manager, product marketing manager and PR specialists were polled for the research.

****BNG researched salaries for illustrators, architects, copywriters, graphic designers and web designers.