Browsing 'survey' News

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A recent survey has found that many employees in Qatar feel financially insecure, dissatisfied with their jobs and are considering moving abroad to find work elsewhere.

The results of the latest Career Aspirations in Middle East and North Africa online study, conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov, show that Qatar workers’ wanderlust reflects a similar sentiment across the MENA region.

Overall, 73 percent of all respondents said they would consider relocating internationally to find better employment. The poll included responses from some 8,963 residents in a dozen countries, suggesting that the local findings represent a small proportion of Qatar’s population.

The large number of respondents who say they would consider employment in another country could be driven in part by the significant population of expats working in the Gulf, many of whom are on fixed contracts or only plan to live abroad for a relatively short period.

The UAE is the favored destination for those currently working in Qatar, at 39 percent.

Notably, while many residents based here are looking at employment opportunities outside the country, Qatar is perceived to be an attractive location for those currently working elsewhere in the region.

Across the region, Qatar comes out as the joint-second choice of place to work, along with Saudi Arabia, for 13 percent of those surveyed.

The findings paint a complex picture of working life in Qatar. While the country’s multiple infrastructure projects make it an attractive destination for many of those working outside the state, some of the figures reflect a concern by current residents about rising costs.

Satisfaction

Only one-third of Qatar respondents said they were happy with their work environment, making Qatar workers among the least-satisfied in the GCC, after Bahrain where just 24 percent expressed their satisfaction.

Excerpt of Career Aspiration in Middle East and North Africa survey

Bayt.com

Excerpt of Career Aspiration in Middle East and North Africa survey

While a sizable percentage of people polled (32 percent) were indifferent to their working situation, Qatar also had the highest proportion of those who were very or somewhat unhappy with their job, at 34 percent. Employees in Saudi followed just behind, with 32 percent dissatisfaction.

In comparison, employees in Oman appear to be most content in their jobs in the Gulf (41 percent).

Money worries

Asked about their top problems, financial issues came out first in Qatar for more than half of all respondents (53 percent). Other concerns included:

  • Career path uncertainty (38 percent);
  • Concern about work/life balance (31 percent); and
  • Worry about employment/loss of job (24 percent).

Less than half (47 percent) of those quizzed said they had their perfect job in Qatar, while only just over half (58 percent) of Qatar employees said they were motivated at work.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Reflecting the desire to shore up their financial stability, a higher salary and better perks were the reasons most workers said would improve their drive and dedication at their job (60 percent).

Of those looking to move jobs, salary and benefits were the single biggest issue in choosing a job (84 percent), compared to job security, which was the key attraction for only just over a quarter of prospective job hunters in Qatar.

With the cost of living on the rise in Qatar, particularly in the past year, many employees have said they are feeling the pinch.

One-fifth of people polled in Qatar said they don’t save any of their pay, while 41 percent save less than 10 percent of their annual salary.

Bayt.com - income saved - Jan 2015

Bayt.com

Survey results

However, Qatar workers seem to be better off than their colleagues around the region. Some 29 percent of Bahrain employees save nothing, while in Jordan almost half (48 percent) of the working respondents said they didn’t save a dinar.

Workers in Oman are among the region’s most thrifty, with 10 percent claiming to be able to save more than half of their salary, compared to 7 percent in Qatar.

Commenting on the figures, Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at Bayt.com, said in a statement:

“Different projects around the Middle East region are generating more opportunities, especially in the GCC. These projects are however, driving up costs, making respondents more anxious about savings and salaries.

Employers must take this into consideration going forward, both with current employees and future hires.”

Entrepreneurial spirit

The survey also noted that Qatar workers strongly prefer to be employed by a company rather than striking out on their own, perhaps reflecting the quest for financial security.

More than half (52 percent) said they would rather be an employee than an entrepreneur, which is the highest figure across the MENA region, while less than a third (30 percent) said they wanted to start their own business.

Workers in Bahrain and Saudi appear to have a more entrepreneurial spirit, polling 46 and 44 percent respectively in favor of working for themselves.

Unsurprisingly, construction (29 percent) was the sector representing most of Qatar’s survey respondents , followed by tourism and hospitality (8 percent), then oil and gas (7 percent).

However, despite the ongoing construction boom, only 15 percent cited construction as the sector they would like to work in, while oil & gas was the desired field for 14 percent of workers.

Aside from financial concerns, the majority of Qatar’s workers (83 percent) said they were positive about the coming year.

The online survey was conducted from 3 until 10 December 2014, with 8,963 respondents from the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

Thoughts?

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Qatar residents are the most optimistic of all GCC employees about economic growth and job opportunities in the coming months, despite feeling the pinch of a rising cost of living.

Nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of staffers polled in Qatar expect the overall number of job opportunities here to increase in the next six months, while 55 percent said they expect their own company to take on more staff over the same period, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index by Bayt.com and YouGov.

This makes Qatar’s workers significantly more confident than their Gulf peers, particularly when it comes to forecasting new employment prospects.

In the survey of 5,075 MENA residents questioned from Aug. 5-19, just over half (53 percent) of UAE employees said they expected the same opportunities in the next six months, while just over one third (38 percent) of those surveyed in Saudi were optimistic of future vacancies.

Aric DiLalla

Additionally, Qatar employees are also the region’s most positive when it comes to their expectations for business conditions in the state.

Some 69 percent expect these to get better in a year’s time, compared to 65 percent in the UAE and just half of all those surveyed in both Kuwait and Bahrain.

Undoubtedly, Qatar’s figures reflect the anticipated significant upscaling of the state’s labor force in the coming years in order to complete its many infrastructure and construction projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup and as part of its National Vision 2030.

In a report published earlier this month, Qatar National Bank predicts that the number of residents here will grow on average by 7.4 percent annually in the coming years, reaching 2.5 million by 2016.

While the majority of upcoming jobs in this “new wave” of economic expansion will be for semi and unskilled workers, there will also be more opportunities for women and white-collar workers.

Savings pinch

Qatar’s rapid development does have its drawbacks.

According to Bayt.com, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those surveyed expect the cost of living to increase in Qatar over the coming 6 months, while four in ten admit they are saving less this year than last year.

Lesley Walker

And nearly two-thirds (62 percent) said they expect their personal situation to either stay the same as it currently is or to get worse in the next half-year.

This is not surprising, given the ongoing inflation in living costs in Qatar.

Figures for August show the consumer price index up to nearly 4 percent year-on-year, mostly driven by rampant rises in residential rents as land prices continue to escalate.

And despite their positive outlook about upcoming job prospects, Qatar’s workers are generally less enthusiastic about their current position. When questioned about how they felt about their salary and benefits:

  • 43 percent said they were happy with their benefits;
  • 42 percent were satisfied with their current salary; and
  • 47 percent expressed satisfaction with their level of job security.

How do you feel about the coming six months? Thoughts?

 

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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.

Thoughts?