Browsing 'employment' News

For illustrative purposes only.

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For illustrative purposes only.

As Qatar prepares its budget for the new fiscal year, ministries, agencies and companies that receive government funding have been given a set of strict guidelines while preparing their salaries and expenditures estimates for 2016.

The instructions include coming up with a plan for “replacing existing expatriate employees with skilled professional Qataris in various posts,” the Peninsula reports.

Qatarization is a long-standing goal of the government, but has been difficult to achieve because there are not enough nationals who are able and willing to fill the government’s quotas, especially in the private sector.

Budget

The budget guidelines come as officials work to control spending amid expectations that Qatar will register its first deficit in more than a decade next year, thanks in part to falling oil prices, which influence the price of natural gas.

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Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Also for the first time, the new fiscal year will begin in January, instead of April, to mirror businesses and international financial organizations that follow the calendar year.

Because of this, agencies have been working off of an interim budget for the remainder of 2015.

Taking that into account, the Ministry of Administrative Development has instructed government entities to provide separate draft estimates of this year’s budget, as well as estimates for 2016 and beyond.

According to the Peninsula, the circular stated that:

“It is critical to enhance financial performance and fund management ministries and government agencies for a sustainable economic development of the country.

In case a government office fails to furnish details on time and according to guidelines, the ministry will submit budget estimates to the Ministry of Finance on behalf of these entities.”

New era

Qatar began working to cut the fat from government even before oil prices dropped, following the handover of power to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani from his father.

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim

QNA

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim

Speaking to the Advisory Council last year, the Emir said:

“Waste, extravagance, mishandling of state funds, lack of respect for the budget, reliance on the availability of money to cover up mistakes are all behaviors that must be disposed of.”

Months later, Sheikh Tamim passed a new law that grants additional powers to the country’s finance ministry, presumably to bring overspending departments in line.

Qatar Minister of Finance Ali Shareef Al Emadi said at the time that the new measures aim to “protect public funds.”

“The law would boost the efficiency of public spending by tracking income and expenses accurately and continuously,” he added.

Thoughts?

 Construction site in Doha

Rosepinkqatar/Flickr

Construction site in Doha

As many companies in Qatar seek to recruit more employees this year to help meet ambitious construction targets ahead of the 2022 World Cup, recruitment company Bayt.com has compiled a top 10 list of sought-after skills that new employees should have.

At the top of the list, which was recently published in Qatar Construction News, are good communication skills, with employers emphasizing that the ability to speak both Arabic and English is highly prized.

Second on the list are good interpersonal skills, followed by: leadership ability; technical skills; flexibility and multitasking; multicultural awareness; a willingness to learn; problem solving and creativity; and, at tenth, good negotiation skills.

The emphasis on people skills comes at a time when construction firms in Qatar have been urged to actively plan and manage project deliveries to avoid legal battles with their clients as World Cup deadlines loom.

Salary issues

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Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

On the flip side, companies will need to keep in mind that expanding their work forces and retaining staff will require spending money.

A study of salaries released in May by Bayt.com and market research agency YouGov found that 85 percent of Qatar respondents felt the cost of living in this country rose during 2014.

At the same time, more than a third (38 percent) said they did not get any increase in their salaries to compensate.

Of those who felt their daily costs had gone up last year, more than a quarter (27 percent) said their expenses had increased by more than 20 percent.

Higher rent, food and utility bills were the key reasons for the increased costs, respondents said.

Unhappiness with wage packages was also reflected in a survey released in April, which found that six out of 10 Qatar residents surveyed were actively looking to switch companies, with low salaries being the number one reason for searching for employment elsewhere.

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Careerealism.com

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According to the poll, which questioned 5,774 people from 13 countries in the region in March, Qatar employees were most likely to want to leave their current employers over low base salaries (67 percent), lack of career growth opportunities (63 percent) and lack of training opportunities (44 percent).

Although Qatar is the second-most popular Gulf country for expats to work in after the UAE, it has one of the region’s lowest retention rates, according to a recent report by online recruitment site GulfTalent.

The report, Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf 2015, said this is likely due to Qatar’s kafala sponsorship law, which makes it difficult to change jobs, prompting many to leave the country to look for work elsewhere.

Figures from 2014 show that fewer than half (48 percent) of expats surveyed said they wanted to continue working here, compared to 88 percent of those working in the UAE and 61 percent in Kuwait. Only Oman had a worse rate than Qatar, with less than one-third (30 percent) stating they intended to remain in the country.

Thoughts?

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Richard Messenger/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The Pakistani government has said it is training some 200,000 of its nationals to work as blue-collar workers in Qatar to help build the Gulf country’s infrastructure in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, according to media reports.

If the new initiative is successful, the number of Pakistani expats in Qatar would effectively triple over the next seven years.

Pakistan flag

mdwallpaper

Pakistan flag

Speaking to Pakistan Today, Provincial Labour Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said that the country is developing a new initiative that would give employees vocational training, vaccinations, security clearance and basic English language lessons before they leave the country.

During a visit to Qatar in May, Sarwar apparently told the Qatari government that his country would also train future blue-collar workers to have an awareness of industrial safety and give them information about the dangers of human traffickers, as well as advice on how to avoid them.

Many laborers fall victim to unscrupulous manpower agencies who demand large payments for visas before the workers arrive in Qatar.

Sarwar said that two government committees have been established to make the process of finding jobs more transparent, and their work would include the provision of passports and visas for workers.

‘Not a bad paymaster’

Aside from the announcement of these efforts to combat human traffickers, the Pakistani minister did not comment on Qatar’s kafala sponsorship system and its restrictions on freedom of movement for expats.

But political economist Mobeen Ahmed Chughtai told Pakistan Today that although Qatar was “not known to be a bad paymaster, working and living conditions of foreign labor in Qatar have always been a controversial subject.”

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani meets Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain in March.

QNA

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani meets Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain in March.

The labor minister’s announcement follows a visit to Pakistan by Qatar’s Emir in March, the first trip to the country by a Qatari leader since 1999, according to MOFA.

It also comes after an an appeal from Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for Qatar to allow more foreign workers into the country.

There are currently some 100,000 Pakistanis living here, in various blue and white-collar jobs, and their remittances are an important part of their home country’s economy.

Tripling their number in Qatar is a move that Sarwar said could help ease unemployment figures at home:

“Government in collaboration with private sector will train these skilled and semi-skilled workers who will bring foreign exchange of more than 60 billion rupees annually to Pakistan that will also raise the standard of living of their families.”

New flights

Qatar Airways Boeing 777

Aero Icarus/Flickr

Qatar Airways Boeing 777

The announcement coincides with news that Qatar Airways is expanding its services to Pakistan.

This week, it launched flights to Sialkot and Faisalabad, bringing the airline’s tally of routes into the country to six. Sialkot flights will depart four times a week, and Faisalabad three times a week.

The other Pakistani airports served by Qatar Airways are Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar.

Next month, an additional Pakistani destination, Multan, will also be added.

Thoughts?