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A lack of career opportunities is the most common reason given by unemployed Qataris for being unable to find work, according to figures released in an official survey.

The latest edition of the Quarterly Labor Force Survey, compiled by Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics, found that there were 1,522 unemployed Qataris in the second quarter (April to June) of 2014.

The unemployment rate among Qataris is 1.61 percent – a relatively small number compared to many other countries – but comes amid a booming economy that sets aside many jobs for nationals.

The main reason for being unemployed, cited by 930 Qataris, was a lack of job opportunities, followed by a lack of experience (322).

Other common reasons included a lack of academic qualifications (254) and a lack of suitable jobs (234).

Qatarization

Government officials have implemented an ambitious “Qatarization” program that aims to make Qatar more self-sufficient by providing training, qualification and job opportunities for its national workforce.

Last week, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) announced it had established a new panel that will push the private sector to give at least 20 percent of its jobs to Qatari nationals, in line with mandatory targets.

With a five-year target as part of an overall plan to increase the number of nationals holding private-sector jobs from 5 to 15 percent, the new committee aims to set up an online jobs and training portal dedicated to Qataris.

Private-sector Qataris

The quarterly labor force surveys suggested that most unemployed Qataris remain unwilling to work in the private sector.

Unsociable working hours, a long working day, lower wages and the frequent requirement to work a six-day week were among the factors that discouraged them from considering employment in private companies.

Of the sample, 72 percent (1,097 people) said they would not consider working for a private company – a slight improvement on the 75 percent who gave the same response in the 2013 survey.

QSA active Q males

The report also shows that nearly one-third of Qatari males over the age of 15 are “economically inactive.”

Of that cohort of 28,451 people, just over half (56 percent) were students, 36 percent were retired and 4.8 percent were classified as being “with difficulties.”

Nearly two-thirds of Qatari women are classified as economically inactive, with the vast majority of those either students (22,238) or homemakers (27,772).

In contrast, just 2 percent of non-Qatari men were considered economically inactive, as were 40 percent of expat women.

Across the total population, unemployment is still negligible, standing at 0.24 percent for the period, reflecting the requirement of expats to be sponsored under the kafala system.

Population increase

Overall, Qatar’s working population stands at  nearly 1.6 million (1,595,302) – up 8 percent on the figures for its workforce over the same period in 2013.

However its overall population rose by nearly 11 percent over the same time, increasing from 1.91 million people in June 2013 to 2.15 million in June this year.

Summer is a popular time for people to move to Qatar and its population figures for September regularly show a significant increase.

Last year’s post-summer influx saw Qatar’s population break the 2 million barrier for the first time and this year is expected to see a similar surge.

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