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

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 is the findings in 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 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 annual basic salary and US$54K if including other compensation, such as bonus and profit sharing. The level is lower than last 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 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 a 18% year-on-year drop in median salary. This is likely due to local currency depreciation (against the USD) as well as the big drop in oil price.

Looking at longer term, the Middle East region enjoys a 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 is 13% from 2010 to 2016.

The Countries with 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 on CMA salary 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 to see compensation level going up 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 number of years of  experience. Another critical factor is whether the person possesses professional qualification.

The following analysis is based on the availability of any accounting or financial certification. In the survey, 50% are CMAs and 9% are 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 certification earn 2.58 times more than those without certification. The premium is at least 2 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, real estate 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 salary and compensation than non-CMAs. On average, CMA salary in 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 is 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 from CMA certification is most apparent in the top management and senior management level.


CMA vs non-CMA salary for bachelor degree holders


This is an interesting analysis showing that higher education, professional certification and professional experience does make a big different 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 “certified management accountant” in online job search and see the type of job and salary level you will get.

If you are still thinking about the CMA or other 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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