Qatar is home to one of the strongest workforces in the region and beyond, an inaugural report by the World Economic Forum that assesses human capital has found.
Based on data related to education, health, employment and an “enabling environment,” the Human Capital Report ranked Qatar 18th out of some 122 nations globally, and first in the Middle East.
The Gulf country was only two spots behind the United States, with many European nations such as Switzerland and Norway dominating the top 10. Elsewhere in the GCC, the UAE was ranked 24th, Saudi Arabia 29th, Bahrain 40th and Oman 41st. Kuwait trailed at 59th.
Speaking to Doha News about the report, Saadia Zahidi, head of the WEF’s Human Capital project, said Qatar’s low unemployment rate, high quality of education and access to services such as clean water and healthcare all played a role in the country’s top ranking.
But there is still much work to be done, especially in terms of health and well-being, she added. According to Zahidi, some 52 percent of deaths in Qatar from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes occur before the age of 60, in large part due to an obesity problem among adults.
“Even though the hard data is showing people are living unhealthy lives, business leaders have thus far not found this to be problematic for business. Qatar ranked higher because of this…but health is going to be a critical factor (in the future) – even if businesses are not feeling the impact yet.”
Addressing questions about whether Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, which has been in the spotlight recently, factored in the rankings, Zahidi said the WEF did not have globally comparable data on the quality of their employment.
“Things that are specific to pockets of the labor force – frankly, we need more qualitative information,” she said. “The way workers are being treated – this is definitely one of the next areas for investigation.”
She added that though Qatar ranked 7th in the workforce/employment category, there were some issues with the economic participation gender gap, and innovation.
“In terms of the complexity of what a country is able to produce – talent, innovation, skills of employees – and what that results in terms of productivity, Qatar is ranked 78th. That’s another area for potential work going forward – (in that) is all the investment resulting in the ability to produce a number of different things.”
View the full report, which was produced in collaboration with Mercer Consulting and Harvard University, among others, here:
Credit: Photo by Tim Hatton