Expatriates constitute 94% of the labour market in Qatar

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Qatar’s total workforce stood at 1.3 million (out of the country’s total population of around 1.8 million by 2012-end), a QNB report titled ‘Qatar Economic Insight 2013’ says. The report attributed the large foreign workforce to increasing labour requirements in the construction sector, which is also the biggest employer among all economic sectors in the country. The QNB report did not say as much but as work on FIFA World Cup 2022-related development projects have begun, more foreign workers are needed to fill up jobs.

 

Private and public sectors

The private sector presently accounts for 74 percent of total employment in Qatar, with expatriates dominating the job market. In common with other GCC states, Qatar’s national workforce is heavily skewed towards the public sector, with their ratio being as high as 84 percent. Qataris prefer government sector jobs due to higher pay packages and perks. The report notes that pay raises implemented by the government in late 2011 have made it even more difficult for private companies to attract Qatari nationals.

But the government’s determination, as specified in its National Development Strategy 2011-16, is to increase the number of citizens in private jobs to 15 percent by 2016. Last year, the ratio was nearly half, at 8.5 percent, having grown at a snail’s pace over the past four years, since 2008 when the figure was 6.8 percent.

Labour-intensive projects

The report said the upcoming infrastructure development projects are expected to be labour-intensive and will require more foreign workers. So, population growth is expected to rise to 6.7 percent in 2013, said the QNB report.

As for labour force, the growth rate last year was 5.5 percent. The report did not make any forecast for the current year (2013), when it is likely to witness a higher growth due to a slew of mega projects having been announced. The construction sector accounted for more than a third (37 percent) of the total workforce followed by wholesale and retail trade (13 percent). The domestic sector had a share of 10 percent in the total, while oil and gas had only six percent.

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