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Negotiating Salary for EK New Joiners

Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

Negotiating Salary for EK New Joiners

Old 6th May 2018, 16:43
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Negotiating Salary for EK New Joiners

If you are looking at joining EK and have a reasonable amount of experience or relevant type rating, it might be worth negotiating your joining salary.

To do this you need to understand the pilot salary structure.

The pilot salary scale ranges from Level 1 to Level 35. These Levels are known as Steps.

Level 1 is AED 25,460. Each level up to Level 36 is an increment of 3% on the previous level, making Level 30 AED 60,090. This has remained unchanged for the past 5 years. In May 2016, 5 levels were added from Level 31 to Level 35. A step was awarded in that year putting a small number of senior pilots on Level 31. If they had previously been capped on Level 30, they had not received step increments when the rest of the pilots had.

If the "salary" is increased then the whole scale from 1 to 35 would go up by the increment percentage. Apart from a 0,5% increment in May 2013 the salary scale has remained unchanged since May 2011

Salary "Steps" are occasionally awarded. A step is not a salary increase. It is simply moving from one level to the next. Originally this was automatic each year. The idea was to ensure a pilot got paid more for loyalty and experience as he/she spent longer in the company. From when this salary system came into effect in 1996 to 2008 a "step" was awarded every year in line with the original intention of the system. After that there were several years with no step.

The system was transparent to all as the entire salary scale was published with each salary review along with explanatory notes up to 2004. After this the system was deliberately made opaque. A pilot can enquire from HR what Step he/she is on but will not be given the whole scale as before.

By keeping the salary scale practically constant for the past 5 years, inflation has eroded the salaries at EK leading to general discontent as the cost of living in the UAE has risen every year. Government statistics show it as variable between 1% and 5% with a median of about 3.5%. This ignores the increased taxes imposed in the same period. It is only fair to say that there has been a step on most of the past 5 years which somewhat counters inflation. However this implies that loyalty and experience count for little. Such is the modern corporate.

The jump from FO to Captain is simply a jump of 12 steps. An FO who is on say Level 3 and achieves command will jump 12 steps to level 15. Technically a Direct Entry Captain joins on Level 1 and immediately jumps the 12 steps to Level 13.

This keeps everything in line as regards seniority and years of service. If an FO had been around for 4 step increases (Level 4) he/she would jump to Level 16 on achieving command. A DEC joining at the same time would be on Level 13.

At least that's the theory.

However recently EK publicized that they would pay more for experienced pilots. And they do! Pilots are actually in a position to bargain for the joining level. FO's do not necessarily come in on Level 1. They could come in on Level 6 and have a basic of around AED 29,500. They would obviously have to have experience to offer. Likewise DEC's could come in above Level 13 and this does happen. A DEC joining at Level 20 would have a basic salary of around AED 44,600, well above an FO who has done 5 years with the company and upgraded recently.

EK pilots assume that if enough pilots leave this would force the company to increase the salary scale. That is simply not true. The scale can remain largely static. Inexperienced FO's will join to fly the big shiny jet and are happy at Step 1. Experienced pilots can and do negotiate their start salary. There has been no incentive to increase the scale while the entry level experience bar has been lowered. Those already in the system have to hope that EK raise the salary scales or award a step. Failing that the only way to achieve a higher salary is look elsewhere.

For these reasons, my guess is that the salary scale will not change this year. There will likely be a step. An increase in pay per hour is also likely. They would be wise to put up the productivity pay rates as these have lagged even more that the salary scale. Productivity is the cheapest rate per hour that pilots fly. If they don't address it soon people will prefer calling sick to doing the overtime. It simply won't be worth it. In short "manage your expectations".

So New Joiner, if you make it through the recruitment process (or are considering returning to EK) and are sitting on the fence, then be sure to make a counter offer to their contract offer. What have you to lose? The difference of a single level over several years is tens of thousands.

As for loyalty? I think that went out the door years ago.
Your Proxy is offline  
Old 6th May 2018, 17:19
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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They have been offering enhanced packages for a while to people with certain experience.

I’m not at EK but know people who joined over a year ago, 2 got enhanced packages
AIMINGHIGH123 is offline  
Old 6th May 2018, 17:44
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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I thought it was 10 steps FO to Captain?
felixthecat is offline  
Old 6th May 2018, 18:33
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http://www.arabianbusiness.com/395805-pilot-shortage-impact-quite-limited-says-emirates-exec


Emirates is expected to post strong profits when it announces its results next week, after a recovery from a drop in profitability in 2016 owing to a stronger dollar, global economic headwinds and the impact of onboard device related restrictions levied by the US government on flights originating out of the Middle East.

However, in line with what Emirates president Tim Clark said last month, the current shortage of pilots will weigh in on results, the airline’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer Thierry Antinori told Arabian Business, but not as dramatic as has been predicted on some aviation websites.

“The shortage of 100 to 150 pilots has made us do what we would not have normally done such as cut back on flights to Florida,” Antinori said, “but the impact is quite limited. It certainly isn’t as dramatic as some are making it out to be.”

News of frequencies being cut to other destinations are due to commercial decisions, meant to mitigate the combined impact of historically low demand for air travel during May and Ramadan occurring during the same month, according to Antinori.

“May has been the weakest month in terms of demand since the airline has existed. Ramadan this year will come in May. The combination of both will affect demand negatively,” he said.

Emirates is cutting back on flights to Heathrow in London and Bangkok in Thailand to “to avoid flying empty seats in period when we cannot stimulate the market very much,” Antinori added.

“These decisions are independent of the shortage of pilots we are facing,” he said.

Plan to deal with shortage

Emirates had already anticipated it would need to deal with the shortage, which is why in November it opened the Emirates Flight Academy, according to Antinori.

“We are now training 170 pilots there, in addition to hiring pilots, so this shortage shouldn’t last more than a couple months.”

The pilot shortage is a combination of a global deficit of pilots and “Chinese airlines attracting pilots at very high salaries,” Antinori added.

He said onus was on Emirates to communicate to pilots that it offers a much better incentive for them to move to Dubai.

Dubai is a great place for pilots to live with their families. If you had to choose between being an Emirates pilot from Dubai vs options in Guangzhou, Mumbai or Addis Ababa then you’d want to be here rather than shuttle back and forth with your family to a place where the children have difficulties settling in.


"We offer a very competitive package in terms of housing allowance, all-inclusive healthcare benefits as well as other benefits that arise from being a world class city,” he said.

Ghost_Rider737 is offline  
Old 6th May 2018, 18:50
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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Dubai is a great place for pilots to live with their families. If you had to choose between being an Emirates pilot from Dubai vs options in Guangzhou, Mumbai or Addis Ababa then you’d want to be here rather than shuttle back and forth with your family to a place where the children have difficulties settling in.


Or you can choose to stay in the civilization, earning an ok salary and never come to any of those pits above ...
Python27 is offline  
Old 6th May 2018, 19:10
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If you compare living in Dubai with places like guanzho Mumbai or Addis then you ain't setting the bar very high
Ghost_Rider737 is offline  
Old 6th May 2018, 19:11
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Perhaps step 3, 5 or 15 makes little difference if you’re never off and rested enough to spend your money, and time, with family and friends...? Just saying....

CP
CaptainProp is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 01:44
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Originally Posted by Ghost_Rider737 View Post
If you compare living in Dubai with places like guanzho Mumbai or Addis then you ain't setting the bar very high
Yep, the 'expat lifestyle' is indeed an upgrade for some nationalities. And, if folks continue to leave, you won't have to worry about getting furloughed, right?

An optimist tells us to look at the bright side of the resignations:

Originally Posted by fliion
The good news is - when the market turns all these guys are moving on (to stay in light of their convictions would be a failure of their integrity) and then your seniority will move up a lot quicker.


As I observed on another thread:

Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
You'll always have some genius telling you that you are making a mistake, his kids love the 'international experience' and going to the 'American School'. He doesn't pay taxes, he's not going to take a pay cut and start over etc. As things continue to go downhill, the justifications for staying become ever more strident and convoluted.


Originally Posted by Python27 View Post
Or you can choose to stay in the civilization, earning an ok salary and never come to any of those pits above ...


Originally Posted by CaptainProp View Post
Perhaps step 3, 5 or 15 makes little difference if you’re never off and rested enough to spend your money, and time, with family and friends...? Just saying....


On the other hand, if you are trying to build time for the airlines, being worked like a rented mule really helps harvest those logbook hours. Maybe you could chalk it up to 'paying dues'. But it sure isn't a long term lifestyle for raising a family in my opinion.

I remember one of the folks here telling the Cathay guys years ago that they needed to grow some balls. As he advised Captain Underpants on the AOA response to the 49'ers:

Originally Posted by fliion
Capt. U You are correct, zero balls and thats [sic] the bottom line.
Hopefully he will continue to bravely stand for justice and now confront the EK management over the continuing decline in pay and working conditions.
Airbubba is online now  
Old 7th May 2018, 02:34
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: South Africa
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Dubai is a great place for pilots to live with their families. If you had to choose between being an Emirates pilot from Dubai vs options in Guangzhou, Mumbai or Addis Ababa then you’d want to be here rather than shuttle back and forth with your family to a place where the children have difficulties settling in.

"We offer a very competitive package in terms of housing allowance, all-inclusive healthcare benefits as well as other benefits that arise from being a world class city,” he said.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH. That just made my day! I can die happy now.
Joker11 is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 03:05
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
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First BBJ now this, merely days before the pay review. Brace yourselves for a huge let down!
dustyflightdeck is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 03:56
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Join Date: Mar 1999
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Originally Posted by dustyflightdeck View Post
Brace yourselves for a huge let down!
If you have been expecting something earth-shattering, then you haven't been paying attention!

The company is run as a business, first, last and everything in-between. Western companies have a duty of care, there is no such thing here, the managers will do whatever they feel is necessary to make more money for the company, the employee happiness is not considered at all, barring how it would affect the bottom line. They obviously feel that expectations are running too high, so are trying to lower expectations in order to reduce the potential exodus when the bonus/profit share and new salary packages are announced.
skyvan is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 04:23
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Well explained Proxy, although I think its a 10 year step from right to left.

For years the "step" was always just assumed although we found out it was definitely not guaranteed. At some point it was written as part of a "3%" raise which is non-sense. It was exactly as Proxy stated, a yearly increase for service, experience and cost of living. From memory, the years of 05-08 were the only years that we really made significant progress in pay. The "step" plus 8% was the highest I believe. The "crisis" changed all that with the pivotal change in the productivity pay from 78-92 hours in 09. Effectively increasing our workload almost 20%. It subsequently dropped to 88 a few years ago.

They are now on the back side of the curve - parked jets with a dubious reputation as an employer who constantly move the goal posts. We now work forced overtime on the cheap at 90+ hours a month. The 777 being the current workhorse with all the turns.
I suspect they will pay the "step" and enhance the flight pay a la FD with an outside chance of a small increase of maybe 1-2%.
I would also hope they lower the productivity threshold again and increase the overtime pay.

Negotiating your own rate is unlikely with so many of the younger and less experienced new joiners. However, those with solid experience and on similar types why not - much like back in 04 when they first started with DECs, they can certainly cut their own deal. I know one guy back then that made more in basic than the trainer! All the power to them.

In the end, we'll take it and accept it. Or not. As always, interesting times....
Saltaire is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 07:58
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Is there any other flying related pay on top of basic? Level 30 is still less than USD200,000. Woefully inadequate for a wide body captain, let alone one with 18 years in the company. More than 18 if you haven’t got steps every year.
burnable gomi is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 08:54
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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Gommi,

Total package for the step 30 guy will around 91.000 aed a month . Thats $300k a year Take home for a line pilot with 88 hours a month. Excluding schooling and medical/dental. Not many airlines in the world will offer that, with that amount of years of service. Fact is, you come here to make money, as always, something has to give. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Its the old story of the 2 buckets. Very simple really. After a very enjoyable 13 years mine are both full and working my notice. Would I recommend this job for a young lad who wants to make some cash, hell yes. Would a recommend this for the lad with kids and wife in tow, not really anymore .
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Old 7th May 2018, 09:08
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Excluding housing how much is it? Is there flying pay/sector pay/hourly pay on top? Or is it just basic + housing/schooling?
burnable gomi is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 10:44
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A pilot can enquire from HR what Step he/she is on but will not be given the whole scale as before.
Good post Proxy. A fair and thorough analysis. Something I discovered by accident just recently is that you can see what step you are on by looking at your contract adjustment letters in HR direct. Go to the history tab and it is on the far right. The scales themselves however remain a black self guarded secret but given the information that the bottom is 25460 then anyone with a rudimentary grasp of XL could make up a spreadsheet to show the steps. I have posted one. In the Emirates forum in the past and will update it should we miraculously get an adjustment. In my opinion it should be available to all EK pilots but then again shouldn’t the seniority list.

PS: The other posters are correct it is a 10 step increment on upgrade.
Gulf News is offline  
Old 7th May 2018, 17:23
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by Your Proxy View Post
If you are looking at joining EK and have a reasonable amount of experience or relevant type rating, it might be worth negotiating your joining salary.

To do this you need to understand the pilot salary structure.

The pilot salary scale ranges from Level 1 to Level 35. These Levels are known as Steps.

Level 1 is AED 25,460. Each level up to Level 36 is an increment of 3% on the previous level, making Level 30 AED 60,090. This has remained unchanged for the past 5 years. In May 2016, 5 levels were added from Level 31 to Level 35. A step was awarded in that year putting a small number of senior pilots on Level 31. If they had previously been capped on Level 30, they had not received step increments when the rest of the pilots had.

If the "salary" is increased then the whole scale from 1 to 35 would go up by the increment percentage. Apart from a 0,5% increment in May 2013 the salary scale has remained unchanged since May 2011

Salary "Steps" are occasionally awarded. A step is not a salary increase. It is simply moving from one level to the next. Originally this was automatic each year. The idea was to ensure a pilot got paid more for loyalty and experience as he/she spent longer in the company. From when this salary system came into effect in 1996 to 2008 a "step" was awarded every year in line with the original intention of the system. After that there were several years with no step.

The system was transparent to all as the entire salary scale was published with each salary review along with explanatory notes up to 2004. After this the system was deliberately made opaque. A pilot can enquire from HR what Step he/she is on but will not be given the whole scale as before.

By keeping the salary scale practically constant for the past 5 years, inflation has eroded the salaries at EK leading to general discontent as the cost of living in the UAE has risen every year. Government statistics show it as variable between 1% and 5% with a median of about 3.5%. This ignores the increased taxes imposed in the same period. It is only fair to say that there has been a step on most of the past 5 years which somewhat counters inflation. However this implies that loyalty and experience count for little. Such is the modern corporate.

The jump from FO to Captain is simply a jump of 12 steps. An FO who is on say Level 3 and achieves command will jump 12 steps to level 15. Technically a Direct Entry Captain joins on Level 1 and immediately jumps the 12 steps to Level 13.

This keeps everything in line as regards seniority and years of service. If an FO had been around for 4 step increases (Level 4) he/she would jump to Level 16 on achieving command. A DEC joining at the same time would be on Level 13.

At least that's the theory.

However recently EK publicized that they would pay more for experienced pilots. And they do! Pilots are actually in a position to bargain for the joining level. FO's do not necessarily come in on Level 1. They could come in on Level 6 and have a basic of around AED 29,500. They would obviously have to have experience to offer. Likewise DEC's could come in above Level 13 and this does happen. A DEC joining at Level 20 would have a basic salary of around AED 44,600, well above an FO who has done 5 years with the company and upgraded recently.

EK pilots assume that if enough pilots leave this would force the company to increase the salary scale. That is simply not true. The scale can remain largely static. Inexperienced FO's will join to fly the big shiny jet and are happy at Step 1. Experienced pilots can and do negotiate their start salary. There has been no incentive to increase the scale while the entry level experience bar has been lowered. Those already in the system have to hope that EK raise the salary scales or award a step. Failing that the only way to achieve a higher salary is look elsewhere.

For these reasons, my guess is that the salary scale will not change this year. There will likely be a step. An increase in pay per hour is also likely. They would be wise to put up the productivity pay rates as these have lagged even more that the salary scale. Productivity is the cheapest rate per hour that pilots fly. If they don't address it soon people will prefer calling sick to doing the overtime. It simply won't be worth it. In short "manage your expectations".

So New Joiner, if you make it through the recruitment process (or are considering returning to EK) and are sitting on the fence, then be sure to make a counter offer to their contract offer. What have you to lose? The difference of a single level over several years is tens of thousands.

As for loyalty? I think that went out the door years ago.
Excellent post, succinct, accurate - factually correct.

Thanks for taking the time to outline the current situation re step/Pay.

fliion is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 00:33
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by Your Proxy View Post
Level 1 is AED 25,460.
You made this post in May 2018. Just a year earlier (April 2017), this was on the Emirates Group Careers website:


Did they really drop entry-level pay by AED 5,000 in 2017?
greencoconut is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 02:02
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
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The website shows basic pay plus flying pay for an 88hr month. The level one pay is basic only.
donpizmeov is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 04:08
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 22
Don,

Entry level 1 includes basic + flight pay for "normal" joiners
Entry level 2 includes basic + flight pay for apparently the "enhanced" folks
Info 6 months old when I did enquire

FK
fighterkok is offline  

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