Bahrain is officially the Kingdom of Bahrain. It is a sovereign Asian island state in the Persian Gulf. The Arabic-speaking archipelago has one main island, 33 natural islands, and 51 artificial islands; all making 83% of the country’s landmass. When compared to the other Gulf States, it is the most liberal environment for business with low taxes, low operating costs, and the absence of red tape. Bahrain was formerly famous for the finest pearls in the world but today, it stands out in the oil and tourism sectors. Banking is also a leading economic activity in the country, leading worldwide in Islamic finance with Sharia-compliant insurance, investment, and credit facilities.
What is the average Salary in Bahrain? Well, the average gross salary in Bahrain is 3,962.77 USD per month. The figure is 47,606.38 USD when converted into annual average salary. Those in hourly jobs should expect an average salary of $23.89 an hour. Note that at the time of writing 1 USD = 0.38 BHD.
Why is Bahrain a good country to work in? To begin with, there is a great work-life balance since you can live close to your workplace and roads are not busy. Prices are very stable and consistent compared to most countries where they fly high then come crashing down. Generally, the cost of living is cheaper than that of most Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait and Dubai. Arabic, Indian, and different kinds of seafood are also available everywhere in the country. Shopping malls and leisure parks are plenty too. This already seems like paradise but what how do salaries look like in this state? What about the labour market? Keep reading to find answers to these and much more.
AVERAGE SALARY IN BAHRAIN
The Bahrain labour market is currently attracting many foreign workers due to competitive salaries offered here. There are also tons of incentives offered to employees and the net income salaries are high due to the no personal income tax policy. Here’s a look at popular job titles and their average gross monthly salaries:
- Accountant 2,765.96 USD
- Financial Analyst 4,069.15 USD
- Internal Auditor 4,228.72 USD
- Receptionist 2,313.83 USD
- Secretary 2,001.06 USD
- Graphic Designer 2,686.17 USD
- Photographer 2,739.36 USD
- Aerospace Engineer 4,414.89 USD
- Flight Attendant 3,563.83 USD
- Pilot 4,840.43 USD
- Architect 3,670.21 USD
- Teacher 3,191.49 USD
- Business Analyst 4,680.85 USD
- Civil Engineer 3,590.43 USD
- Construction Project Manager 4,574.47 USD
- Electrical Engineer 3,750 USD
- Mechanical Engineer 4,095.74
- Chief Executive Officer 9,095.74 USD
- Chief Financial Officer 8,324.47 USD
- General Manager 7,101.06 USD
- Chef 3,318.09 USD
- Travel Agent 3,351.06 USD
- Dentist 9,175.53 USD
- Dietitian 8,670.21 USD
- Laboratory Technician 3,138.30 USD
- Nurse 3,031.91 USD
- Human Resources Officer 3,218.09 USD
- Attorney 5,638.30
- Journalist 4,069.15 USD
- Pharmacist 4,680.85 USD
The above salaries give you an insight into what to expect but the figures will still vary, depending on your level of education, level of experience, employer, working sector, location, age, etc.
The highest-paying company is Arab Banking Corporation at an annual average salary of 233,000 USD. The highest-paid employees in this company are the VPs at 130,000 USD per annum and senior managers at 116,000 USD per annum.
Generally, salaries in this country range from 531.915 USD to 17,553.19 USD per month. The median salary is 4,202.13 USD. This means that 50% of the Bahraini population earns more than 4,202.13 USD while the other 50% earn less than this.
Other salary indicators are the 25th and 75th percentiles. Statistics show that 25% of the population is earning less than 2,127.66 USD while 75% is earning more. Using a different point of view, 75% of the population is earning less than 11,515.96 USD while the remaining 25% is earning more.
Besides their salary, contract employees are awarded an indemnity after their contract period. It is based on gross salary without including bonuses or employee benefits. It can be a large amount of money if you have worked in the country for a long time. The indemnity is not insurance but rather a bonus required by the law to be given to expats, thanking them for their service to the state. Its scales amount to around 15 or 20 days of basic salary per employment year for 3 years, then to a month’s salary per year thereafter.
BAHRAIN AVERAGE INCOME PER PERSON
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita is a measurement of how much a state’s economic output can account for its population. It is used to indicate a country’s standards of living and its economic performance. The GDP Per Capita of Bahrain was 25,273 USD in 2019 where the country was ranked 34th by nominal value. This was a decrease from the 2018 value which read 25,482.74 USD. These values indicate how much one would earn if the government distributed its GDP equally to its population. The GDP per capita is expected to be about 25,507.487 USD at the end of 2020. According to this forecast, the economy of Bahrain is gradually making progress.
MINIMUM WAGE IN BAHRAIN
National Minimum Wage (NMW) refers to the government-set lowest payable remuneration per month, week, or hour. There is no mandatory minimum pay rate for all workers in Bahrain. Minimum wages have, however, been set for public sector workers at 300 BHD ($797.872) per month although they still differ depending on one’s level of education as shown below:
- 270 BHD ($716.81) per month for high school graduates
- 350 BHD ($929.20/) per month for diploma holders
- 400 BHD ($1,061.95/) per month for Bachelor’s Degree holders
Bear in mind that these minimum wages only apply to Bahraini nationals. So, what is the minimum wage for expatriates? There is no existing minimum wage for foreign workers in Bahrain. However, in practice, there tends to be one based on the industry and job title. Foreign workers tend to receive lower salaries than locals, but they end up benefiting from the bigger bonuses and incentives offered to them by employers.
The private sector is governed by different rules but most of its salaries tend to emulate the public sector. According to Bahrain’s labour ministry, introducing a mandatory minimum wage in the private sector could affect the economy since it is the expatriate-dominant sector. The nature of its economy is free-market and it would be affected if a minimum wage is introduced.
BAHRAIN INCOME DISTRIBUTION
Bahrain is considered a wealthy country, but there’s still a wide gap between the rich and the poor. Therefore, income distribution in the country is uneven. Just like in other gulf countries, there are many spacious new malls where the wealthy shop and utilize the huge leisure centres in the island’s relaxed atmosphere. The poor population live in many villages away from the cities. This is because life in the cities is very expensive while that in the villages is relatively cheap.
The poorest group is considered to be made of 75% of the Muslim population called the Shiites since they are mostly excluded from government jobs. High income is mainly concentrated among the Sunni Muslim family, which is the ruling al-Khalifa family. They form the ruling elites and own the most wealth. Since they control the economy, they ‘import’ more Sunnis from other Arab nations and employ them. Why then is Bahrain a great destination for expats?
Even though the locals earn a higher gross salary than foreign workers, in reality, the opposite is true. Foreign workers are given enticing benefits such as free housing, health care, transport, and food; all of which is not received by the local employees. This makes living in the country much more affordable for expats since they do not incur these costs, which are basic and the most money-consuming.
As if that wasn’t enough, expats only contribute 1% of their income to social security while citizens pay 7%.
BAHRAIN JOB MARKET
Job opportunities are plenty, specifically in the oil refining, tourism, production and export of aluminium, telecom, finance, construction, IT, health care, and banking industries. There is a chance for you, whether as a student intern, fresh graduate, or an experienced job seeker.
REQUIREMENTS FOR WORKING IN BAHRAIN
If you are a citizen to any of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), then you don’t need visas or permits to live in Bahrain. British nationals who are citizens by birth do not require documents as well. As a non-GCC citizen planning to work and live legally in Bahrain, your employer has to apply for your visa and permits before you enter into the country
The working hours in Bahrain vary between 40 to 48 hours, depending on the company’s policy. However, the working time is legally reduced to six hours during the month of Ramadan. Some companies apply this to all staff while others restrict it to Muslims only.
The taxation system in Bahrain has a great impact on the salaries and peoples’ disposable income at large. The country has one of the most convenient taxation systems, especially for expats. For starters, no tax is imposed on personal income. Also, the sum of all the social contributions by foreign employees makes up to only 1% of their gross monthly salary. The only tax in Bahrain that seems very expensive for foreign workers is the one imposed on property; they pay a compulsory 10% municipal tax for rented property.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.