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CMA Salaries in Dubai and the Middle East (with 11 Amazing Charts)

Curious about a CMA salary in Dubai and the Middle East? Well, the IMA conducted two comprehensive CMA salary surveys in 2010 and 2012 among the current and prospective CMAs in Dubai, UAE, and the Middle East, together with two recent global surveys in 2014 and 2015. Here are some interesting findings:

Here are the findings in a text version for your reference.

Profile of a Typical IMA Member in the Middle East

Based on members who responded to the survey, an “average IMA member” is more likely a man in his mid-thirties with a bachelor’s degree, and quite possibly with a master’s degree. He has been working for 10 years in middle to senior management.

On average, the IMA members in this region earn US$44K in their annual basic salary and US$54K if their salary includes other compensation, such as bonuses and profit-sharing. The level is lower than the previous year by 13-18%, likely due to the fall in oil prices.

The median figure is UK$29K and US$35K, respectively.

In any case, the salary increase is still impressive from the first report in 2010.

Median CMA Salary in Dubai and Middle East Countries

The range varies significantly by country within the region.

Median instead of average numbers are used because the higher salaries tend to distort the picture of what an average member earns.



UAE has the highest median salary and compensation at US$39K and US$45K, respectively. Egypt has the lowest at US$6.6K and $8.3K, respectively.

The region experienced an 18% year-on-year drop in median salary. This is likely due to local currency depreciation (against the USD) as well as a big drop in oil prices.

Looking at the longer-term trends, the Middle East region enjoyed strong growth with a 6-year CAGR of 16% from 2010 to 2016.



The trend of total compensation (basic salary and benefits) is very similar, but with KSA dethroning UAE for the first time. The CAGR for total compensation was 13% from 2010 to 2016.

The Countries with the Largest Representation

Among the Middle Eastern countries, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have the most number of IMA members, representing 35%, 25%, and 13% of total survey respondents, respectively.

Here is a further breakdown:


For a detailed analysis of CMA salaries in Dubai/UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, please check out the links here:

CMA salary in Dubai and UAE CMA in Saudi Arabia CMA in Middle East
Salary in UAE Salary in Saudi Arabia Salary in Egypt

Median Compensation Comparison by Years of Work Experience

Not surprisingly, compensation increases as people gain experience in their field. In the general accounting and finance field, you can expect compensation levels to rise considerably within the first 10 years of work. The percentage increase is less thereafter, but the absolute amount is still significant.


2012 CMA salary by work experience

2012 data
(x-axis: total compensation in US$; y-axis: number of work experience)

Median Compensation by Age and Certification

The difference in compensation by age can only be explained partially by the number of years of experience. Another critical factor is whether a person possesses professional qualifications.

The following analysis is based on the availability of any accounting or financial certification. In the survey, 50% were CMAs, and 9% were CPAs.

cma salary by age and certification

2012 data
(x-axis: total compensation in US$; y-axis: age group)

The “certification premium” is the most significant in the 30 to 39-year-old age group: those with certifications earn 2.58 times more than those without certifications. The premium is at least two times in other age groups.

Median Compensation by Industry

CMA salary in middle east by industry

Given the importance of oil and refinery in the Middle East, this sector demands the highest level of compensation. Government jobs are also well paid when considering the total compensation package.

The highest number of employment (see below) are from the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors as well as the manufacturing industry. Their compensation level is slightly lower than the average.

cma members by industry

Compensation by Responsibility Area

2012 cma salary by responsibility

Compensation for general management and risk management is among the highest; government accounting ranks last.

Finally, on CMA vs non-CMA…


Based on the latest report in 2016, CMAs continue to enjoy higher salaries and compensation than non-CMAs. On average, a CMA salary in the Middle East is US$48K, and compensation at $61K, compared to $39K and $47K, respectively, for non-certification holders. The premium is 24-29%.

Looking at the numbers more closely, the impact of having the CMA designation becomes more apparent as you gain experience and move up the corporate ladder. Young CMAs have slightly lower pay when compared to their non-CMA counterparts, but for all other categories, the benefits of having the CMA designation are very clear.

Compensation by Years in the Field and CMA Designation


2012 cma salary by age and certification

2012 data
(x-axis: total compensation in US$; y-axis: age group)

Similarly, the impact of CMA certification is most apparent at the top management and senior management levels.


CMA vs non-CMA salary for bachelor degree holders

Conclusion about a CMA Salary in Dubai and the Middle East

This is an interesting analysis showing that higher education, professional certification, and professional experience do make a big difference to your career and your pay.

These charts show the encouraging big picture, but it is prudent to check whether it applies to your local area. The best way to do it is to search for a “certified management accountant” in an online job search and see the type of job and salary level you will get.

If you are still thinking about the CMA or another qualification exam, it’s really time to do it!

Salary reports for your reference:

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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