Qatar is set to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 and that’s put the spotlight firmly on this, the world’s richest country (by per capita income). Approximately 14% of households here are dollar millionaires and expats routinely rate the state as among the most attractive to live and work in the Middle East, alongside UAE and Saudi Arabia.
On the whole, Qatar has a lot going for it, such as its small population (fewer than 2.05 million people) and its welcoming attitude toward expatriate professionals to such an extent that foreigners outnumber natives here. UN figures estimate that 500 new immigrants arrive in the country every day, even as the state boasts the highest human development in the Arab World.
Recently, S&P Dow Jones Indices, the international equity index compiler, upgraded Qatar from ‘frontier market’ to ‘emerging market’ status. The change will come into effect starting May 2014. The upgrade rides on the back of economic reforms in the country, whereby it raised foreign ownership limits for stocks, and introduced changes in settlement systems and trading facilities.
Construction: Construction is the biggest employer among all economic sectors in Qatar, accounting for 37% of the country’s total workforce. With just nine years left to prepare its infrastructure to host the World Cup, Qatar’s construction sector is seeing frenzied growth – an average of 10% from 2010 to 2012. One of the key projects involved in this development is the Doha Metro, which has just awarded contracts worth US $8 billion this June. Also on the anvil are mega projects such as Mshereib’s Downtown Doha.
A QNB report titled ‘Qatar Economic Insight 2013′ says that there is a huge influx of expats into the country, mainly due to increasing labour requirements in the construction sector.
Oil and gas: The discovery of oil in 1940 transformed Qatar. Though the sector employs only 6% of the total workforce, petroleum and natural gas remain the mainstay of the economy, and the country is a top exporter of liquefied natural gas. Today, soaring gas exports and high oil prices are fueling the country’s wealth creation. By 2022, Qatar is expected to have invested more than US $120 billion in its energy sector.
Trade: 13% of Qatar’s workforce is engaged in wholesale and retail trade, and the domestic sector has a share of 10% of the workforce.
Well, everyone. The August 2013 Job Index Survey conducted by Bayt.com revealed that 37% of Qatari companies will ‘definitely hire’ over the next three months (Sep-Oct-Nov), even as 62% of all companies will fill up to 10 positions. Many of these companies are looking for people with experience in Business Management (29%), followed by those with a background in Administration (25%).
Employment for Senior Executives is skewed towards the private sector, which accounts for 74% of total employment. The steady influx of expats will increase Qatar’s population by 6.7% this year.
As expected, senior engineers and project managers are in high demand, and construction remains the most attractive industry for Senior Executives, followed closely by oil, gas and petrochemicals, and then, banking and finance.
Doha – the capital – is one of the hubs of economic activity in Qatar. The city is neck-and-neck with Riyadh (capital of Saudi Arabia) in terms of job availability and salary competitiveness. These two cities offer the most competitive salaries in this region.
Qatar enjoys an unemployment rate of just 0.5%. In a survey, 27% of respondents stated that there were plenty of jobs available across various industries in Qatar, while six in ten respondents expected that job availability would increase over the next six months.
– Bayt.com ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey, July 2013
– Bayt.com Consumer Confidence Index survey, September 2013
In 2012, the Institute of International Finance based in Washington published a study, placing Qatar’s per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) at US $106,000 (QR 387,000). This made Qatar the world’s wealthiest country for the third time in a row. In comparison, Luxembourg’s per capita GDP is US $80,000 and Singapore’s is about US $61,000.
From 2012-2013, average monthly salaries in Qatar rose by 6%, well outpacing the rate of inflation which was at 3.6% for the same period.
At an individual level, C-Level salaries are comparable to those in the West – but the lack of taxation is the game-changer.
Still, CEO salaries in Qatar are on the rise. Chief executives – CEOs and MDs of multinational companies – earn US $33,261 per month on average, while local company CEOs draw an average salary of $24,941. Banking treasury managers come next, earning $15,329 per month, as opposed to retail/ personal managers who make $13,157 and IT managers who are paid $12,428, on average.
Salary is not the only thing attracting expats to Qatar. 50% of employees in Qatar consider their non-monetary benefits an important factor that contributes to their job satisfaction, while 52% consider the growth opportunities important, and 50% are pleased with the job security they enjoy (numbers overlap).
With the sort of financial muscle it possesses, the country is home to hundreds of luxury hotels. Petrol is cheaper than bottled water and eating out is a national pastime. Most expats employ domestic help to take care of household chores and even child-rearing.
Executives who are used to having their remuneration channelized into basic, housing, car or medical allowance, education and air tickets for home visits, will find things a little different in Qatar. You can now expect these allowances to be bundled into your salary which, of course, is higher as a result. If you are on contract, you will receive an ‘indemnity’ (a.k.a. end-of-contract or end-of-service benefits) at the end of your contract period. Depending on how long you’ve been there, this could be a very considerable amount.
However, if you quit after completing at least five years of service as an employee, you will receive gratuity – a minimum of 3 weeks’ wages for each year of your employment.
– 2013 Gulf Business Salary Survey
– Qatar Statistics Authority
– PayScale survey
Made your Mind Up?
Relocating to Qatar as a Senior Executive can offer the experience of a lifetime. It is a great combination of east-meets-west, where Islamic culture intermingles with the customs and styles of Europe. With proper preparation and an understanding of the environment one will be entering, Qatar can truly feel like a new home.
Make sure you’re up to date with the latest Senior Roles available in Qatar. Find the latest C-Level roles available in Qatar with salaries over $100k when you search the Career Intelligence jobs database now – Search Senior Roles in Qatar.