Like many gulf countries, the majority of workers in Qatar are expats mainly coming from Asia. Currently, 75 per cent of the workforce is foreign, composed of 313,000 Indians, 266,000 Nepalese, 130,000 Sri Lankans and more than 100,000 Filipinos.
Anderson said that Qatar has to consider ways to attract and retain skilled labour. “So far there is no sign of a slow down in the economy, but there is increased competition in the region to attract the world’s greatest minds and Qatar has to find ways to attract this talent.”
She breaks employee types into three categories. First is the high potential individuals, who represent two to 10 per cent of the total staff in an organisation and have talent and ambition to accelerate in the firm’s hierarchy.
Second comes employees with key talent and technical abilities, representing five to 10 per cent of an organisation. The last group is the core contributors.
This is the bulk of employees, who mainly looking for security and consistency of work when taking a job. “All these groups are important to have a healthy productive company.”
With so many expats in the country, it creates a need for the government to create a favorable environment in terms of providing affordable housing, schooling and general living costs. According to a 2007 GCC survey, 60 per cent of respondents in Qatar said their salaries had not kept up with the increasing cost of living. “Inflation in this country is a big issue and cannot be ignored by companies,” said Anderson.
Inflation now stands at about 12 per cent, yet experts in the market believe that the rate will reach 14 per cent in the coming months as the dollar peg has still not been suspended. “In order to contain the inflation rate and continue the economy’s growth Qatar has to do something about its currency,” said Marios Maratheftis, Head of Research of the Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan at Standard Chartered Bank.
Anderson further added that companies have to refrain from giving misleading information about the cost of living.
“In the end people are going to come over here and find out the reality of things. This might drive them away in no time. At the same time companies have to find ways to calculate the cost of living and adapt their salaries to that,” she said.
Other than dealing with inflation, Anderson noted a number of issues that are still pending on the government’s agenda.
This includes rights to end of service benefits after one year’s service, equal rights for men and women regarding wages and having a bilingual contact, as currently the contacts are all in Arabic.
“When all these issues are dealt with, more qualified individuals will look into working in Qatar and this in turn will generate more growth in the economy.”
Thursday, February 7- 2008 @ 10:40 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.