New panel established to push private sector to employ more Qataris

Qatar skyline

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A new committee set up under Qatar’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) will push the private sector to give at least 20 percent of its jobs to Qatari nationals, in line with mandatory targets.

The special panel will enforce the existing Qatarization target and will roll out a five-point action plan that it hopes to complete by 2019, according to the Peninsula, which quotes a report in Arabic daily Al Sharq.

Through this plan, the government aims to increase the number of Qataris working in the private sector – which is currently overwhelmingly dominated by expats – and to monitor private companies to ensure they are striving to meet the quota.

The Peninsula reports that members of the panel have already met with 116 firms to talk to them about their Qatarization record and to encourage them to do more to hire nationals, and to provide training and research opportunities for Qataris.

Jobseekers’ portal

As part of the plan, the special committee will also oversee the roll-out of a new online jobs portal dedicated to Qatari jobseekers.

The site, which is expected to be launched “soon” – although no specific date has been confirmed – will include a directory of vacant posts for Qataris, in addition to lists of opportunities for research, scholarships and training.

The committee will monitor the progress of companies and regularly report on achievements and advise what more can be done to boost Qatarization.

Private sector Qataris

According to a Labor Force survey conducted last year by the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics, Qataris account for less than 1 percent of the total private sector workforce. Additionally, only 5 percent of employed Qataris hold private-sector jobs.

The National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-16 seeks to boost this figure to 15 percent, and the new MOLSA panel is the latest step in a bid to realize this target.

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This is a cornerstone of Qatar’s economic diversification, which aims to make Qatar more self-sufficient through appropriate training and qualification of its national workforce, particularly in private sector industries.

Labor Undersecretary Hussein Al Mulla warned last year that the private sector has no excuse not to set aside 20 percent of its jobs for nationals.

Companies ignoring the directive would “have to face the music,” he added – although there has been no official outline of the penalty that would be imposed on companies who fail to meet the quota.

However, not all Qatari jobseekers want to work in the private sector.

An MDPS Quarterly Labor Force Survey from last year found that some 75 percent of 1,300 unemployed Qataris said they were not willing to work for a private company.

The number one reason given for their reluctance was unsociable working hours. This was followed by the length of the working day, lower wages than what are offered in the public sector and the frequent requirement to work a six-day week.

Qatari work values

Another reason for nationals choosing to work in the public sector could be that many private companies do not understand the values and needs that are most important to many Qataris.

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The results of a study released earlier this year by Oxford Strategic Consulting (OSC) concluded that there were a number of ways in which private companies could do more to attract nationals to work for them.

For instance, the report found that many Qataris are motivated not just by money but also by opportunities to serve their country and and to contribute to society – values most often associated with the public sector.

It also concluded that private companies do not advertise their vacancies in a medium that would be read by Qataris.

For example, 84 percent of employers advertise for jobs online, but only 4 percent of young Qataris said they would use the internet to find a job. Most rely on word-of-mouth and direct recommendations.

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