As Qatar moves forward with a number of development projects in the next decade, its progress is being hampered by labor laws that demotivate its majority expat workforce, a Qatar-based marketing expert has argued in an opinion column for business magazine The Edge.
Because expats here are not given a stake in what they are building or contributing toward, many move to Qatar simply for the paycheck, said Robert Madronic, a marketing instructor from the School of Business Studies at College of the North Atlantic Qatar.
This motivation is adversely affecting the success of Qatar’s companies, he said:
“Paid to build the country’s infrastructure and institutions, these expatriates will never become citizens and are expected to go home when the job is completed. This lack of residential and job security can create a ‘mercenary mentality,’ a motivation to work only for the money. Such motivation rarely leads to long-lasting, high-quality work.”
Madronic says that “mercenary” employees create a number of problems for companies, including increased recruitment costs (as they often leave for better paid jobs at short notice).
There can also be more interpersonal conflicts, as employees sometimes don’t make an effort to adjust, thinking they won’t be with a company for long.
Assuming that labor laws aren’t changing any time soon, Madronic said that there are ways companies in Qatar can go about finding – and keeping – committed staff. The suggestions, which appear to apply mainly to Qatar’s skilled workforce, include:
- Recruiting people who are actively seeking international experience, and are therefore “in it for the experience, not the money,” when it comes to short-term contracts;
- Extending longer-term contracts rather than successive short-term contracts to some individuals. “How much effort and dedication will you get from someone with a series of one-year contracts rather than a five-year contract?” he asks.
- Offering a good benefits package appropriate to staff grade, including reasonable housing, school places and an education allowance, as well as travel allowances. Not taking care of such issues could cause “frustration, feelings of betrayal and the desire to find a better employer,” he said. Employees who arrive in Qatar and find no places to enroll their children and experience other hardships would likely want to “leave for more money, wouldn’t you?” he added.