With reporting from Elysia Windrum
Qatar’s population continued its upward climb in October, with new government figures showing that nearly 200,000 more people were in the country last month, compared to the same time last year.
According to figures released by the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics today, there were 2,216,500 people in Qatar at the end of last month. That’s a 9.43 percent increase from October 2013’s numbers.
The pace of growth is ahead of the projected population growth rate forecast by Qatar National Bank (QNB) in a report published earlier this year.
The bank predicts that the number of people living in Qatar will grow by about 7.4 percent annually, to reach 2.5 million by 2016.
The latest numbers also show that there were just over 29,000 more people in Qatar in October than in September this year, equivalent to a 1.3 percent rise.
This is an unusual increase for this time of year, when Qatar has previously seen a slight dip in the numbers. For example, between September and October last year, there were just over 10,000 fewer people officially recorded in Qatar, equivalent to a drop of 0.5 percent month-to-month.
And in 2012, the population shrank by more than 5 percent, or nearly 87,000 people from September to October.
Qatar’s population patterns usually show spikes in May and September, as these are common times for new contracts to start and for people to move here.
However, Qatar is entering a crucial phase in its numerous infrastructure projects, many of which have completion deadlines ahead of the World Cup, and recruitment across many sectors continues to be robust.
Earlier this year, one of the construction industry’s largest expos, Project Qatar, estimated that more than US$200 billion worth of infrastructure work is scheduled for completion in the coming 15 years.
Demand appears to be strongest for semi- and unskilled labor, but the Qatar job market also looks positive for other sectors.
According to the Middle East Job Index Survey, which was conducted by recruitment agency bayt.com and polling group YouGov, nearly two-thirds of Qatar employers surveyed said they planned to recruit staff over the final quarter of 2014, much of it related to the construction boom.
For example, one of the areas of expertise most in demand by employers, according to the survey statistics, was civil engineering. Some 18 percent of companies said they were looking to fill roles in this sector. Foremen and mechanical engineers are also sought after.
Reflecting this, one of the qualifications currently most desired by Qatar employers is engineering, as 34 percent of companies said they were looking for candidates with these credentials.
Meanwhile, one manpower agency, Al Noof Recruitment Service, told Doha News that there were particularly looking for workers from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya and Indonesia.