2023 Middle East Technology Officers Compensation Survey
Technology Officers

2023 Middle East Technology Officers Compensation Survey

Our first annual survey of technology officers in the Middle East examines both organizational structure and compensation for this increasingly critical role.

Welcome to Heidrick & Struggles’ first annual Middle East Technology Officers Compensation Survey, which examines both organizational structure and compensation for this increasingly critical role.

For this report, Heidrick & Struggles compiled organizational and compensation data from a survey fielded in March of 2023 of 47 technology leaders based in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. In the coming years, we expect to be able to report further on additional countries with an expanded sample size. Most respondents carried the title of chief technology & digital officer, but respondents also include chief information officers, chief digital officers, and other senior information security executives.

We hope you enjoy reading the report, which is the only one of its kind covering organizational structure and compensation data. As always, suggestions are welcome, so please feel free to contact us with questions and comments.

Market overview

In 2022, inflation hit already expensive markets, many with growing populations and existing mandates to develop and advance the economy. We are seeing that leadership talent is scarce in the region, leading to relatively high compensation. In our experience, most executives in this region are ex-pats, and the region more often attracts those more senior in their careers with, in at least some cases, a different risk appetite than more junior executives. 

In that context, the evolution of compensation packages is ongoing. The UAE, where the majority of our survey respondents are based, has seen GDP growth of 3.9% since 2021.1  

Part of the evolution in compensation structure is the discontinuation of some allowances. Historically, companies offered allowances such as housing, transportation, and education to both locals and ex-pats to entice them to the region. As the markets have matured, we have seen these allowances be eliminated or reduced, or bundled into the fixed element of compensation. 

The most commonly held role among our respondents was a dual role: chief digital & technology officer. Executives with these areas of expertise are becoming increasingly important, as organizations across all industries are facing the challenge of adapting to a variety of tech-based efficiencies, most recently generative AI. In our most recent survey of chief information security officers (CISOs), we found that these roles also often have information security responsibilities. Fifty-three percent of CISOs surveyed said they reported to either the chief information officer, the chief technology officer, or another senior engineering executive.2  

We believe that compensation structures will continue to evolve in the region as countries continue to transform. This evolution will require the expertise of global leading technology professionals. One specific area in which we think further development is required is the more common use of long-term incentive plans (LTIPs). LTIPs are common in major technology markets, however, they are occasional across the Middle East region. We feel that they will become much more frequent in years to come as organizations in the region seek to retain their core functional leaders. 

With further economic growth forecast for 2023, we are excited to track the evolution of compensation designs for technology leaders in the region.

For full compensation data, download the full report.

About the author

Tom Clarke (tclarke@heidrick.com) is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Dubai office and a member of the global Technology & Services, Technology Officers, and Digital Officers practices.


1GDP growth annual %) - United Arab Emirates,” The World Bank, data.worldbank.org. 

2 Matt Aiello, Scott Thompson, Max Randria, Camilla Reventlow, Guy Shaul, and Adam Vaughan, 2022 Global Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Survey, Heidrick & Struggles.

Stay connected

Stay connected to our expert insights, thought leadership, and event information.

Leadership Podcast

Explore the latest episodes of The Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast