Hiring expectations among non-hydrocarbon businesses in Qatar are the highest they have been for three years according to the Dun & Bradstreet Business Optimism Index (BOI) for Qatar in the first quarter of 2014. The index reveals that the construction sector has the most optimistic outlook on employing workers.
Sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC Authority), the survey also reveals that, within the Finance, Real Estate and Business Services sector, finance and insurance firms are the most upbeat about sales and profits. A substantial majority of finance and insurance firms, 73%, expect an increase in sales and profits during this quarter.
The index for the consolidated non-hydrocarbon sector was at 49 points, lower than the score of 53 recorded in Q1 2013 and at its second highest level in three years.
The survey found that 53% of respondents in the non-hydrocarbon sector expect to increase their workforce, up from 47% in Q4 2013. The BOI for hiring was 51 compared with 44 in the previous quarter and 47 in Q1 2013. Taking the Finance, Real Estate and Business Services sector as a whole, the hiring outlook is higher than in the previous quarter and a year ago.
In addition, a majority of respondents (68%) in the non-hydrocarbon sector foresee an increase in sales volumes in Q1 2014 on the back of expanding demand in all key sectors, partly stimulated by the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and improving market conditions. This optimism is reflected in investment intentions as well. In the non-hydrocarbon sector, 47% of companies intend to invest in business expansion in Q1 2014 compared with 35% in the previous quarter.
A comparison between large companies and SMEs shows that large companies are more optimistic in Q1 2014 than SMEs about sales volumes, new orders and profitability.
Yousef M. Al-Jaida, Chief Strategic Development Officer, QFC Authority, said:”Strong demand for labour, as shown by firms’ hiring intentions, is further evidence that Qatar’s economy remains robust. The Finance, Real Estate & Business Services sector is especially buoyant. Its hiring outlook has improved and expectations for sales and profits are good. Within the sector, the performance of finance and insurance firms demonstrates their fundamental importance in promoting Qatar’s economic growth and diversification.”
On behalf of Qatari Businessmen Association, His Excellency Sheikh Mohammad Bin Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, said: “This latest survey demonstrates clearly that Qatar’s private sector is dynamic, investing in our nation’s prosperity to help realise the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Under the wise guidance of the His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin-Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, the business community will continue to play its part in driving Qatar’s extraordinary economic growth.”
Commenting on the findings of the latest survey Prashant Kumar, Associate Director, Dun and Bradstreet South Asia Middle East Ltd., said: “The high BOI scores in Q1 2014 for the non-hydrocarbon sector continue to reflect positive and stable expectations among firms in Qatar. A growing population coupled with rising infrastructure investment are key factors contributing to demand expansion in most key economic sectors. As a result of growing market opportunities, the investment outlook of non-hydrocarbon firms hasalso improved compared to the previous quarter. This is reflected in the factthat 47% of sector respondents plan to invest in business expansion versus 35% in Q4 2013.”