Qatar residents are the most optimistic of all GCC employees about economic growth and job opportunities in the coming months, despite feeling the pinch of a rising cost of living.
Nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of staffers polled in Qatar expect the overall number of job opportunities here to increase in the next six months, while 55 percent said they expect their own company to take on more staff over the same period, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index by Bayt.com and YouGov.
This makes Qatar’s workers significantly more confident than their Gulf peers, particularly when it comes to forecasting new employment prospects.
In the survey of 5,075 MENA residents questioned from Aug. 5-19, just over half (53 percent) of UAE employees said they expected the same opportunities in the next six months, while just over one third (38 percent) of those surveyed in Saudi were optimistic of future vacancies.
Additionally, Qatar employees are also the region’s most positive when it comes to their expectations for business conditions in the state.
Some 69 percent expect these to get better in a year’s time, compared to 65 percent in the UAE and just half of all those surveyed in both Kuwait and Bahrain.
Undoubtedly, Qatar’s figures reflect the anticipated significant upscaling of the state’s labor force in the coming years in order to complete its many infrastructure and construction projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup and as part of its National Vision 2030.
In a report published earlier this month, Qatar National Bank predicts that the number of residents here will grow on average by 7.4 percent annually in the coming years, reaching 2.5 million by 2016.
While the majority of upcoming jobs in this “new wave” of economic expansion will be for semi and unskilled workers, there will also be more opportunities for women and white-collar workers.
Qatar’s rapid development does have its drawbacks.
According to Bayt.com, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those surveyed expect the cost of living to increase in Qatar over the coming 6 months, while four in ten admit they are saving less this year than last year.
And nearly two-thirds (62 percent) said they expect their personal situation to either stay the same as it currently is or to get worse in the next half-year.
This is not surprising, given the ongoing inflation in living costs in Qatar.
Figures for August show the consumer price index up to nearly 4 percent year-on-year, mostly driven by rampant rises in residential rents as land prices continue to escalate.
And despite their positive outlook about upcoming job prospects, Qatar’s workers are generally less enthusiastic about their current position. When questioned about how they felt about their salary and benefits:
- 43 percent said they were happy with their benefits;
- 42 percent were satisfied with their current salary; and
- 47 percent expressed satisfaction with their level of job security.
How do you feel about the coming six months? Thoughts?