Qatar is apparently a more favorable expat destination for women than men, a new survey of more than 14,000 expats living in 195 countries has found.
According to the Expat Insider Survey 2015, carried out by networking website Internations, Qatar ranked nine spots ahead in terms of general satisfaction for female versus male expats – 45th overall, versus 54th for men.
The survey does not specify why, but suggested that men were more likely to criticize the cost of living, and that women may find it somewhat easier to settle in.
Overall, Qatar remains relatively unpopular among global expats, despite rising four places in the rankings to 54th out of the 64 countries listed, compared to 58th out of 61 nations in last year’s survey.
The top three countries to live in this year were Ecuador, Mexico and Malta. The bottom three were Nigeria, Greece and Kuwait.
All survey respondents were quizzed on key areas like quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, ease of family life and cost of living.
In Qatar, the top three nationalities of expats questioned were from India (16 percent of respondents), the Philippines (15 percent) and the UK (11 percent.)
Construction was the main industry employing respondents, followed by education and business services.
Whilst the preference of female versus male expats for Qatar is notable, both sexes still put the country far down the global rankings, at 45th for women and 54th for men.
By contrast, neighboring UAE ranks very highly for women.
It came in 13th, beating, among others, the USA and all Scandinavian countries, with women working there saying they find it relatively easy to settle in and that they are satisfied with their career prospects.
Qatar is further down the list for overall satisfaction due to a low ranking in several key areas, most notably family life (38 out of 41 countries), ease of settling in (51 out of 64) and quality of life (56 out of 64).
It does however rank relatively highly on ease of finding work abroad (29 of 64) and for financial benefits (also 29 or 64.)
‘Peaceful, but boring’
The Expat Insider country report for Qatar concludes that the country is “peaceful, but boring.”
It highlighted an apparent lack of leisure activities as one reason for its poor performance in the Quality of Life Index.
Less than half of the expats in Qatar (46 percent) considered available leisure activities to be good overall, compared to 75 percent of expats globally.
One anonymous expat quoted in the report states that “there’s little to do here other than shopping, which appears to be the primary pastime.”
Furthermore, Qatar’s roads and other transportation options come in for criticism, with 46 percent saying they are unhappy with the status quo, twice as many as the global percentage of 23 percent.
Long hours, separated families
According to the report, the average working week in Qatar is among the longest in the region at 46.3 hours.
That’s higher than the global average of 42 hours a week and ahead of regional neighbors like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which last 45.6 hours and 44.8 hours, respectively.
Qatar’s latest population figures show that out of a total tally of around two million people, only one in four is female, a ratio that has remained constant for years.
Perhaps reflecting this skewed figure, the report said that while 64 percent of expats in Qatar are in a relationship, around 30 percent of those people were in long-distance relationships, compared to a global average of 14 percent.
Qatar also ranked fairly poorly in terms of the cost of living, at 46th out of 64 countries, but still came ahead of more popular expat destinations like Australia and the UK.
Few local friends
Like last year, the report continued to highlight the divide between expats and locals in Qatar.
It states that just under half (49 percent) of the expats surveyed in Qatar found the local population to be friendly, compared to a global average of 72 percent of expats who rated the friendliness of nationals in their host countries.
Moreover, 36 percent said they’d found it hard getting used to the local culture, and 43 percent said that they didn’t feel at home in Qatar, compared to a global average of 61 percent.
Furthermore, half of all expats questioned also said that it was particularly hard to make friends with Qatari citizens, although the report notes that this may be due to the fact that Qatari nationals make up only 15 percent of the country’s total population.
On the positive side, almost two-thirds (65 percent) said that language barriers were not an issue in Qatar.
Do the findings jive with your experiences here? Thoughts?
I agree the real reason is also the fact that a skews ratio plus Qatar is not Dubai even a cow looking women will be looked as an desert rose
Plus women are aware that men have no places to wind down like a seedy pub of pay and get love or easy to go hotel or Ashley Madison sites they remain at home like a domesticated animal plus for men malls are the worst places to go more to say but then truth will hurt
There’s plenty of seediness in Doha, whether it’s in bars or on apps like Tinder.
Describing men who don’t do this as ‘domesticated animals’ seems like an insult to the male of the species – many men are capable of and enjoy monogamous relationships.
Yes I must wind down in the seediness where ever I may live. Are you seriously daft?
haha “even a cow looking women will be looked as an desert rose” hahaha so so true.
someone had to say it.
Unfortunately all this attention that gets lavished on us primarily comes from absolute losers, so it really doesn’t work out much better for us!
ah but these losers seem to be doing better than me, which tells me a lot about me!
Your attitude towards women is totally Jurassic.
Actually, I take that back. It’s an insult to dinosaurs to compare them to you.
I’m not surprised by this.
This is my sixth year working in the Gulf and I don’t feel that being a woman has ever damaged my career prospects. On the other hand, during the year I spent working in the UK, I was ordered to wear high heels and makeup to meetings, which I thought was awful! Of course there are occasional frustrations that *could* be put down to sexism, but I feel like I’m respected by the vast majority of my colleagues.
I think women who work can make friends quite easily there, and there are lots of groups for mums who stay at home etc. My experience is that men to see things in quite a black-and-white way here, whereas women look for the odd splashes of colour you can come across.
hmm It’s different for me. I work in a male dominated environment 90% Indians and I find most of them can’t even look me in the eyes. They don’t take anything I say seriously and often bypass me when they have question. I stopped caring because I get paid whether they interact with me or not, but I am pretty invisible here.
My English male boss (I’m Kiwi) asked me to get him a coffee and take a memo! Straight outta the 70s!! I said “pardon, I’m here to go over the Marketing Strategy for the next quarter, get it yourself”. I’ve met a lot of Western male bosses who act like children here, they know they wouldn’t get away with it back home.
great response lol I wonder what he face looked like when you said that. So your office doesn’t have a tea boy? We had a 200yr old british boss here once, roamed around the office like a snake watching everyone and he made full use of the tea boy whilst everyone else made their own coffee
I think I must just be really lucky where I work?
About 30% of my colleagues are Qatari. Most of them are very friendly and do their jobs well. All of the women chat to me and so do most of the guys. A few of the guys don’t, and I put that down to a combination of them not having great English plus coming from more traditional families, so I don’t mind – they’re never rude and help me out with anything I need work wise, they’re just not as chatty as the others.
I have Qatari friends too and I love them; the more I get to know them, the more the stereotypes are broken down for me.
Very few of my colleagues are Western; most of the rest are Arab with a few Indians. I make a huge effort with all my colleagues to get to know them, find out about their lives, their kids, what they were up to at the weekend etc. and in general I get along well with everyone.
What is with the 60 hour work week most places have????
I thought that as well. I’d love to have a 48 hour week.
I would like to hire more women, but it’s difficult to get work visas for single women, especially for some countries. If you hire a married women, they’ve changed the rules now and the husband is not allowed to work.
Not surprised women are happier here than men. A pretty average looking European women suddenly becomes a supermodel in Doha surrounded by Arab and Asian men. I guess the huge gender imbalance is good for some!
Sounds kind of misogynistic
Trust me, the huge ratio of men to women here and getting leered at constantly is not a selling point for women who live here!
Couldn’t agree more!!
Depends on the woman has been my experience – some are quite content with it.
Supply and demand
What? Not enough women in the world?
I used to beg my previous employer to hire more ladies and he stressed how he’s tried but couldn’t because of visas. They ended up hiring ladies already on their husbands sponsorship praying they wouldn’t get up and quit on a moment’s notice despite being on contract.
Retail therapy is a stress reliever to women. That’s why the husband should be abundant enough to cater the needs and wants of their wife….
“Husband should be abundant”…I feel sorry for your husband if you have one, seeing him as a wallet for your retail therapy. Way too many females see males as their ticket to financial means and have material things and quite frankly it is insulting to the rest of us females.
SorRy….,but I belong to the LGBT group. Seeing female locals shopping as if everything will in that day with lots of shopping bags in their cart and with their household help. Maybe that defines what this article defined!
I wouldn’t admit that in Qatar my friend! You will end up in jail.
Defined where? This article is about survey results primarily of female expats.
You seem to have a funny idea about women… and men. Thanks a lot for that. For me the appeal is the weather not joking!), being relatively
close to interesting travel destination while having a good amount of
vacation days – and going out into the desert each weekend.The malls are just a local amusement spot for me: look, another mall! Who is making use of them all?!?
too many people are in denial haha. below comments automatically think of cash, ever heard of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs?
This sound like “foreign women are “less” dissatisfied than foreign men”
I am ok overall here, a little bored with the lack of things to do and exhausted with my 45hr week. I haven’t socialized with the locals because I don’t come into contact with any of them, I just stare at them from afar as they hang around places like sugar and spice and Chac’late. I am just saving as much as possible and investing so when I leave here I never have to work again.
Ditto in 6 years sadly I’ve only ever spoken to one or two Qatari, the ladies who work at the post office desk. The guys at airport immigration does that count? In the 6 countries I’ve lived as an expat this is bar far the most isolating.
I’m Qatari feel free to add me on fb, no need to be isolated
I hate you!
It’s me the local guy staring back at you from Chac’late. Good luck in your life.
In my job I’ve met a number of Qatari, and I’ve never had a problem with any of them. Conversation has always been civil and pleasant. We’ve come to agreement and understanding on common issues, and we’ve got there with good humour and honest intent on both sides. The one time my car broke down a Qatari got out of his car and helped me to get it going jump started it. But how can I see those individual pleasant personal experiences as anything but a false façade when the collective will of a nation results in laws designed to exploit it’s expatriate workers so badly, and a justice system that is so mistrusted? Maybe if there were dissenting Qatari voices raised against the Kafala and the labour laws then I could believe that there is enough humanity there to make me want to make friends with the Qatari, but there isn’t, and so I can’t. To suggest in a report that it’s hard to make friends with the Qatari because they represent only 15% of the population is either a deliberate attempt to deflect criticism or it is borne of total ignorance of how people of my culture think. And yes, Qatar is both harsh and desperately dull for a single male, which is why I believe I earn every last Riyal that I’m given.
I was shocked once when a Qatari friend, who I in no way considered to be daft, told me that I needn’t ever worry about exit permits or NOCs, because, in his sincere belief, those things were only there for ‘Asians’ (not his actual word but you get the drift). Somehow I, as a white person, was immune from any impact of kafala, and therefore he couldn’t understand why I used to get so fired up about it.
I don’t know what was more disturbing about his view – that he thought that ‘white’ people were treated different to others, or that it was perfectly okay to treat others in that way.
Unfortunately that’s the norm here. One of the victims of this kafala system is a close friend of mine, a highly-skilled professional who signed a two-year contract for a certain salary just to be with his fiancee here. When he got here he was given a lower salary and was kept here for over two years without being allowed to go on vacation for one month every year as was stated in his contract. He was made to do the work of three people and even the promised bonuses were denied even though the company was earning a huge profit from his labor. So many expats have similar experiences here and the report seems to totally ignore this fact.
Why did he accept this slavery? He could have just stopped working and in the worst case scenario they would cancel his visa and fly him back. Your story is full of nonsense I am afraid.
Sure…and land in the deportation jail like the other “runaway” slaves? Possibly languishing there for weeks/months, without earning anything and facing financial ruin as a pressure tactic to return to his employer? Or go to Qatar’s courts with what money for lawyers? You are so farking clueless.
Yeah that’s it. Are you playing dumb? Have you ever heard about someone who resigned but got locked by his employer? If they report him to authorities as a runaway he can always show a copy of his resignation and his embassy will help him sort things out. Unfortunately it is people like your friend who make bad managers do what they want with their employees and get away with it.
Very nice!! Blame the foreign worker instead of the actual culprit to avoid changing the system that allows these bad managers to treat their expat employees like slaves. Try to dig holes in the foreign workers’ stories so you can deflect attention from the bane of civilized society that is the kafala system. What else is new.
Your friend was stupid. And it is people like him that help the system. If he was unsatisfied, quit the job and leave. Thats what people do. No one would have arrested him. Its only when you try to change jobs people get stuck.
“Its only when you try to change jobs people get stuck” – said as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Alternative suggestion quit, and potentially leave a family back home destitute. Great idea.
Yacine, I believe you are Qatari, so I’d ask you please to stop looking at everything from your somewhat secure nationalistic point of view, and put yourself in the position of an expat trying to survive in a foreign land. The point I think you are missing is that there is absolutely no trust by expats in anything to do with either Qatar’s employment system or it’s justice system. Everything is skewed in favour of the employer, and even DN has published enough examples to scare people from ever coming into contact with officialdom of any kind. I work for an employer who I consider to be at best unbalanced and at worst….well. He has connections at the top of the tree, and I genuinely fear that if I committed some (in his eyes) major transgression he would use everything in his power to make me regret it – and I’m what might be called a reasonably knowledgeable western professional so try and imagine what one of the “workers”, desperately fighting to sustain his family back home, might feel. Fear Yacine, of the state organs of Qatar, is what keeps the workers in check.
I am not Qatari but I am someone who likes to have a fair and balanced view on things. Yes the system is biased towards employers, and yes many of them tend to abuse their employees, especially the Asian blue collar ones. That said, the story of this particular guy is weird. If he was stuck for 2 years with his bad employer, it is because he didn’t want to leave, not because his employer forced him to work and prevented him from leaving. He was probably stuck with a loan, or he may have thought that if he resigns he will go back to the old routine back home, with a basic job and a basic salary. Whatever his motives were, it is misleading to claim his employer held him for 2 years and forced him to work with him.
Yacine you may not be Qatari but from your name and your posts generally you are from a country that is more aligned to Qatari culture than western culture. I try to give a “balanced view” as well, but the “balanced view” is inevitably founded on the culture of the viewer
So it is a problem now to have a culture “aligned” to the Qatari one? I am Muslim and Arab so you should expect my culture to have more similarities with Qatar than the UK! 🙂
As for the balanced view, I do not think it has anything to do with culture. It has more to do with integrity, neutrality and a sense of justice.
Yacine – reading it again I actually agree that the story of the bloke doesn’t quite ring true. As for culture we are totally different. Yours is Islamic and mine is Christian, and I’m pretty sure we see things from those different perspectives.
Well said. My friend’s employer was an influential man as well. As it is, the horror stories of workers that had had to deal with Qatar’s labor ministry and justice system pretty much puts many expats especially Asians off the idea of taking that route. Thankfully my friend finally managed to find a way to get back home. He is a manager there now and is earning more than he ever did here.
Yes, I have. Embassies don’t get involved, and it is your word against that of a local. Good luck.
White privilege. It exists in the Land of the free, Home of the brave too.
I get so worked up with visa story etc–I tried to get visas for my 2 South African nieces to visit (age 20 and 29) and it has been rejected 3 times! I would so love my family to come and visit, but it just seems impossible!
I’d love to see the calculation that arrived at an average working week of 46.3 hours. I assume it’s based only the number that is actually written into contracts and not the hours that you’re expected to work. Does it include Qatari? Part time workers? For me and I guess at least a few 100,000 others it’s about 13.7 hours too low – and that’s without ending up in a coffee bar discussing some lunatic scheme that will never be built.
When the population ratio in the country is 4 Men to 1 Woman, of course they would enjoy their lives with so much attention lol.
In my observance, most of local females here doesn’t like to explore in any outdoor activities. They just love shopping, eating and chit chatting.
You may be confusing what local females like to do with what is socially acceptable for them to do here (with regards to outdoor activities). Unless of course you asked any instead of observing.
True to that, that Qatar is a boring country. I myself ended in shopping, jogging or having coffee. Whatelse to do in here? Any suggestion????
You can do what I do and go to the north of Doha on a Saturday morning and cycle from one side of the country to the other. Gets a bit monotonous but at least I can free my mind of Dohaly thoughts. Bowling. Visit the museums (again). Go sailing and get sunburnt. No you’re right – there’s nothing to do. Chilling out at home with mates is the best you can expect.
I believe the findings are somewhat biased.
The internations databse maybe the best source of data as its mainly used by white collar workers / professionals.
However its agreebale that quality of life here is based on how well you can afford to pay for experiences. So if you compare female vs male white collar workers / professionals suerly the female workers are at an advantage as most of them are of privileged naitonalities allowing them to earn better pays or they are here with families which allow them to have better quality of life than the majority men who are living as bacherlors with jobs with average / below average pay resulting them not having the same quality of life.
“Men were more likely to criticize the cost of living.” Well, yeah, since in most cases it’s men who are responsible for paying the bills, whether it’s in Qatar or by remitting their wages back home. It’s not that easy for single women to get hired and get visas; a not-insignificant percentage of those are here expressly to find a husband. It’s no surprise that they would enjoy the environment since they are so scarce. Female privilege in action.
“On the positive side, almost two-thirds (65 percent) said that language barriers were not an issue in Qatar.”
I refuse to believe that statement is true! I speak both Arabic and English yet the majority of people I’ve had to deal with in my previous line of work can’t speak either. There is a huge language barrier here and an extreme lack of effort to learn either language. #JustSaying
Well just so it turns out a single lady in Qatar cannot get a visa for her brother any longer. Yeah I’d say I’m really happy living in Qatar after being denied a visa for my mother for a year and now for my brother (who has been here many times previously and who is married) and oh I enjoy working hard for this country and in return I wait to see my family only to have an immigration captain rudely ruin my day. I’m a happy female expat!
Of course they’re happier than men. Show me a country where the expat women outnumber the men 4:1 and you won’t see me for dust!