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 UAECMA in Saudi ArabiaCMA in Middle East
Salary in UAESalary in Saudi ArabiaSalary 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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  • usman says:

    mam i am student of cma ,i almost done my part one,,,,,,,but i cannot able to correct the mcqs in software practice,i read the text book of hock and gliem ,and when i starts the practice,i dont know from where they ask the questions…………..mam i followed your techniques but they failed and they cant help me……….plz give me some advise,give some notes or something which can help me thanksss

  • Ronald davis says:


    Is CMA beneficial in middle east (qatar , U.A.E) if competing courses of ACCA,CIMA,CPA, CA…,,,,If i passed CMA with no job experience (I’m a fresher graduate ),then how much job scope in middle east? I’m worry about this thing,,, I need a concrete reply.

  • Faraz Ahmed says:

    I am an MBA with an experience of 5 years I am working in Saudia right now as Chief Accountant I am looking to move to a Multinational company or at least a bigger better corporation.

    I want ur suggestion as I am comparing CMA with CIMA which is more beneficial for my
    a) increase in salary
    b) move to better company.

  • Hanish Manoj says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    It is an interesting analysis and thanks for sharing the same. Being a non-accountant academically (Science post graduate) and having gained the skill out of work experience and currently in the process of gaining professional qualifications (cfa / cma , etc) I would be more interested in knowing the break up of CMA passed candidates academic-wise. Thanks in anticipation.

  • KARTIK says:

    I am a banking professional ,i have experience in credit ,will it give me any advantage if i do cma & move to dubai for better career prospects & salary.


  • Faizi says:

    Hi, Madam I am fresh CMA and how can I apply for job in dubai and in which comany please kindly inform me or which country is best for me

    • Hi Faizi, I am not familiar with the job market in Dubai, but where are you living now? The easiest would be through internal transfer in your existing company, if they have a Dubai office. Regards, Stephanie

  • ALAA says:



  • sandeep says:

    Hi mam,

    I am from india,. In india many people not awearning about cma us..So what is the advantage i get if i complete cma us?and what is the best country to write cma exam out side india,which country nearer to india after considering all expenses like time?

    • Hi Sandeep, I agree that the level of recognition of CMA (US) is not as high as in some other regions. But you can still take the exam within India. Or is there specific reason why you want to take the exam somewhere else? Stephanie

  • Noyan says:

    Hi there! I’m in between either to complete my ACCA or do CPA. The thing is that my family is in America and right now I’m studying in England (ACCA). In future i have planned to work in UAE but the problem is that do i go back to my parents in US and do CPA there or do i complete my ACCA here in England?. Which is more valuable in UAE if we look in jobs vacancies , salary and scope everything keeping in mind. What should i do?

  • Nizam Thaif says:

    Hi mam,
    How much will be the expense to study cma???

  • Rahul Munde says:

    I am Rahul Having years Banking Experience Currenly working as a Branch Manager. i Want to do CMA COURCE. can have any chances for cma certified for overseas job.
    kindly guide me.

  • Rahul Munde says:

    5 years Banking experiene

    • Hi Rahul,
      Thanks for your note. In terms of qualifying for the exam, you need a bachelor degree and a relevant work experience. Not sure about your education but for your branch manager job it is possible but not a typical accounting and finance job. So I suggest that you check with ima directly.

      I have to say however that CMA or other certifications do not guarantee a job overseas… Regards, Stephanie

  • Trupti says:

    Hi, I am a CMA pass out (sept-2015) student from India, Now living in Dubai. I have already applied for IMA membership as well. However I find it very hard to get the job for my profile in Dubai. Can you assist me to get the high profile job?

    • I wish I could Trupti, but I don’t think anyone can find a job for you. Be patient, and start networking (through IMA chapters for example) to increase your chance of people knowing and liking you. It would be a good start. Regards, Stephanie

  • SHAILESH says:

    I am from INDIA, I have completed Master in Technology in Energy Technology,
    i have 5 year of teaching experince and also have 5 years of experience of project, costing, etc. I wish to pursue CMA USA for job IN UAE.

  • Bhavya Jain says:

    Which course or certification is best compatible with ICWAI

  • rohtash says:


    I have passed out CMA both exams in Last Aug 2015 stil unable to fine a job i am based out in KSA bt looking for a job out of KSA either bah,kuwait , UAE Qatar etc

    Any suggestion or help how can u look out


    • Hi Rohtash, it is a bit hard to comment without knowing how your resume looks and also your interviewing skills. Those are very important in landing a job. In fact, more important than your CMA to be honest. So why don’t you try working on that? Also, networking can open doors too. See if you can contact a few friends and for them to introduce you to their contacts and supervisors. Good luck! Stephanie

      • rohtash says:

        Thanks Stephanie ..I have been trying very hard to land in job since last 6 months .,.seems my luck is not with me……Yes my resume and experiance speaks more then what i can say …bt its hard to find a job …i belive !!

        • Hi Rohtash, if you don’t mind I ask, did you get calls from recruiters and companies, or did you got interviews but no offers? I am trying to figure out if the bottleneck is at the resume or interview. Regards, Stephanie

  • Mohamed says:

    Hi there
    Acctually my comment for the applicants which said we didnt find a suitable job, you didnt mention your total experince , may be you looking for mangement level without experince its not enogh then CMA is not enogh , may be you looking for a big salary wich is not offering now in gulf area becuse the full setuation now after ISIS issue, oil price….etc, it is not attractive for any more investments or big infrastructure brojects , so just accept a minimum suitable offer now and give your silfe more time ….. whith my best regard for all

  • Mano says:

    Hi Madam,

    I am pending with Final one Group in ICWA with 8 yrs of experience in Accounts and Finance. I am searching for a job in UAE. Could you please tell how much salary I can get?

    • Hi Mano, it’s hard to generalize though… as in, it really depends on which company you are working for. The above should be a rough estimation. Regards, Stephanie

  • Shipra kanungo says:

    I am in final year in India. Not many people are familiar with cma us here. I have a doubt that after passing the exams ( without two year work experience) can I get a job outside India.

    • hi Shipra, CMA is more common in the Middle East, for example, but finding a job depends a lot on your CV, interview skills and your general network (whether there are people who will recommend you). In short, CMA title helps but please don’t rely on this (or any other) qualification when looking for a job. Regards, Stephanie

  • Aalia says:

    Hi,I have done 2 years graduation with subjects of journalism and political science from pakistan,i have listened that cma is only suits to those who have some degree in accountancy,kindly help me,if i do cma after 2 years graduation with arts subjects,can i get good job in dubai,my friend says that cma(usa)is just a value addition in other accountancy qualification and without a degree in accountancy,cma have zero worth,kindly guide

    • Hi Aalia, the CMA certification is for the accounting profession. You don’t need to have an accounting degree (or have taken any accounting courses) to take the exam, but you do need to study in order to pass. After that, 2 years of relevant experience is required. This means that you’ll have to find a job related to accounting or finance BEFORE getting the CMA title.

      If you aren’t able to get this experience, passing the exam is useless, to put it bluntly 😉 If you are able to get such experience, then the CMA title is helpful even if you don’t have an accounting degree. In fact, it is even more helpful for non-accounting majors because that would be the only proof that you have mastered at least the intermediary level of accounting.

      Hope it helps at least to clarify the situation. Regards, Stephanie

  • Aalia says:

    Thanks a lot stephanie!kindly tell me 1 more thing that is it necessary to get required experience after passing exams or someone can get it before or during exam preparation,i mean if i submit 2 years experience letter before passing exams or on the time of passing exams then can i get cma title on passing exams or is it necessary to get experience after passing exams?
    2nd thing please suggest for me is cma is good for me or should i do any other accountancy qualification?i have maximum 2 years time,kindly guide me in detail,thanks for your time

    • Hi Aalia, thanks for your note. You can accumulate your experience before, during or after the CMA exam. Many of my readers got their verification form ready, and once they get the results, they sent to IMA and got the certificate 2-3 weeks later.

      As for whether CMA is good for you, it really depends on your own situation and career aspiration. I hope I can just give a yes or no answer, but that wouldn’t be responsible on my part. Please check out this page to help in the decision:

  • Obaid khan says:

    Hey I’m can student now clearing can inter is their any exemption for ca inter and how many paper can exumpt?

  • firozkhan kakkattuchali says:

    Is there any placement assistance for cma completed students in middle East..?
    I completed cma both parts .. I would like to get job in middle East.. I will wait your reply..!

    • Hello, the CMA certification doesn’t have any placement service. You’ll have to send out your CV or find recruiters to help… but reading from my bloggers’ posts, Middle East seems to be a great place for CMAs. Many of them said the certification is sought after by companies (or required by their companies), and that they got a promotion afterwards.

  • Bijoy Kumar says:

    Hi madam,

    My name is bijoy and age 35year.I have 5 year experience in bank loan operation lending and currently working as branch operation manager. Kindly clear my below 3 doubts
    (1)Whether i eligible for studying US CMA at this age.
    (2)Whether my experience would be considered for getting exemption from 2 year work exp as per CMA rule.
    (3)How this course help me in future in terms of salary and promotion.


  • Hello Stephanie

    I am Madhav from India. I just want to know after getting CMA title, can i do DIP IFRS from london in order to increase my chances of getting a job in middle east.

    I do have experience of 2 yrs in the following fields-
    indian gaap, bank audits

  • Sajeevan Raghavan says:

    I am graduate with cost accounting as major subject, passed in the year 1984. I have been working in Finance /Accounts for the last 20 years, presently working as Project Accountant in Bahrain, I would like to join CMA course. My question – whether I will get any exemption while join the course.

  • gnaneshwar says:

    HI Stephanie
    I came to know the importance of us cma .but I have one doubt,that is after completion of all requirements, what are the companies are ready to hire us cma in india?.do I get any guarantee that I definitely get a job in india after doing this course?

    • Hi Gnaneshwar,
      I have to say there is no guarantee. I assume that’s the same case for getting local certification e.g. CA India?
      If you aren’t sure, can always wait till the CMA certification is more popular. Although the flip side is that you lose the first mover advantage, if budget/time/effort is a constraint, I suggest that you have a second thought. Regards, Stephanie

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