Should expat professionals abandon Qatar

Published:  30 Oct at 6 PM
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Once one of the most popular destinations for expat professionals heading for the Gulf States, it’s now feared Qatar’s present situation may have taken the shine off the desirability of jobs in the country.

Although many reports state Qatar’s rulers are dealing well with the diplomatic standoff involving most of their immediate neighbours, headlines are also reporting staff cut-backs and a decrease in hiring activity. The fall in worldwide oil prices is still affecting the entire region, and even includes industries far removed from the black gold sector.

In Qatar, the telecom and construction sectors have been hit by massive cuts to the emirate’s revenue stream, causing the government to impose its own cuts on infrastructure investment. Qatar Airways have benefited from cheaper fuel and are expanding their world coverage as a result in addition to still hiring, both internationally and locally. Healthcare is another of Qatar’s at-risk industries, but has received enough government investment to get by and expand in an impressive manner.

Another success in strange times is Qatar’s world brand presence, with companies recruiting the hopefully brightest and best to strengthen their internal audit offices. Security, related to the internet as well as to physical protection, is still creating jobs for experienced personnel in new malls, new residential developments and the eight stadiums needed for the 2020 World Cup. European investment is rising, mostly due to the decline of sterling and the weak US dollar. A rash of new, upscale malls are under construction, spurring hiring across all related sectors, and professionals from successful luxury retail complexes across the Arab world are most in demand.

It has to be accepted that salary levels aren’t what they used to be, with realism kicking in at all levels. Those still in Qatar under the pre-oil price crash packages need to focus on retaining their original roles rather than planning to desert a ship which isn’t actually sinking, just slowing down. Offers are lower than last year, but packages are changing from the traditional accommodation and schooling bases to cash allowances. encouraging expat employees to create their own lifestyles.
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