Qatar has an ambitious agenda to meet over the next 10 years. The country, which plans to pump some $200 billion into infrastructure development, including the construction of a new port, a metro system and roadwork upgrades, has already faced a number of obstacles.
Those include construction material shortages, resulting in skyrocketing costs, as well as difficulty in recruiting blue-collar workers due to competition from neighboring countries that are also knee-deep in development projects.
What about school?
When once high pay and compensation packages were enough to woo new hires, concerns over school place shortages in particular seem to be keeping some potential employees at bay.
Speaking to the media about the construction of Qatar’s new $7.4 billion port, a senior official said the project is on track to open in 2016 – if recruitment goes well.
Construction Week Online, which interviewed Tim Verdon, program director for the port’s project manager, Aecom, reports:
Verdon said that the main challenge in ensuring the project will be delivered on time will be in attracting the number of people to Qatar required to complete the work. However, he is confident that the facilities being offered both for blue and white collar labour will be attractive enough.
Moreover, he said that although there are “some issues with social infrastructure” required to attract the professionals required – such as a shortage of schools – these are being addressed.
Previously, head teachers at several top private schools in Qatar spoke to Doha News about the effects of increasing demand for school places on recruitment.
Andy Yeoman, Headmaster of DESS, said:
“Companies carrying out big projects here are struggling to recruit people with young families. I meet with CEOs every week, wanting to get people into the country, and they won’t come without a school place for their child.”
Qatar is taking steps to ameliorate the crunch. The government recently announced plans to build 44 new schools and kindergartens over the next couple of years. Though once again, recruiting more expats to staff these schools will be the key to their success.
Meanwhile, the Gulf country continues to rank high in global competitiveness reports, largely because of its business sophistication, innovation and a lack of corruption and crime, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012.
But growth continues to be hampered by restrictive labor regulations, access to financing and an inadequately trained workforce, the report stated.
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