Qatar Foundation is expected to lay off some 800 employees imminently, employees there have told Doha News.
The layoffs, which are apparently due to budgetary constraints, will apply “across the board” to QF staff based in Qatar.
This includes employees working in human resources, capital projects and other departments, people with knowledge of the layoffs said.
While Hamad Bin Khalifa University staff would be included in this round of cuts, branch campuses of US universities and other schools in Education City will not be affected.
That’s because they operate independently and under pre-negotiated budgets with QF.
When asked for comment about the layoffs, QF said in a statement to Doha News that it is working to improve efficiency and cut costs:
“Qatar Foundations’ focus of becoming a more efficient organization requires a culture of continuous improvement and, at this time, we are identifying ways to enhance our business operations in order to safeguard the future of our organization.
Therefore, as part of our enduring commitment to the sustainability of Qatar Foundation, we are working to drive our business forward, increasing synergies by enhancing collaboration across projects, as well as examining our existing operational costs.”
Speaking to Doha News, a former QF staffer said the layoffs should not come as a surprise to anyone, as the organization has been shedding staff and programs for some time.
For example, last year QF Radio was taken off the air after a seven-year run.
The QF-backed Sidra Medical and Research Center also saw big layoffs at the end of 2015, though it is now planning a new hiring spree.
Other projects that have gotten the ax in recent years include the Doha Debates, a decade-long partnership with Rand Corp. and a tie-up with Bloomsbury Publishing.
The Qatar Luxury Group under QF, which launched homegrown fashion brand Qela in 2013, has also lost momentum.
“Whoever is still there should not be surprised by snow in January,” said the ex-staffer, in a turn of phrase not quite applicable to a desert country. “They were expecting it.”
The layoffs come amid a larger effort by the government and private companies in Qatar to operate on tighter budgets .
This has resulted in consolidation and job losses in many sectors, including oil and gas, health and transport.
For its part, QF is expected to offer advance notice to employees who are laid off, as well as no objection certificates.
However, officials declined to provide any specific details about the upcoming terminations, saying:
“As a prominent Qatari organization, we understand the public interest for more information regarding the aforementioned changes.
However, our priority at this point is to communicate clearly with our employees, before addressing any external requests for information.”
QF is a massive non-profit that was founded by the Father Emir and his wife, chairperson Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, 22 years ago.
It is involved in countless educational and scientific endeavors.
This includes the upcoming Msheireb Downtown Doha project, the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) and Reach out to Asia.
Are you a staffer concerned about losing your job? Thoughts?