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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Qatar’s population spikes again amid influx of blue-collar workers

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s population growth accelerated in May as an additional 32,135 residents moved or returned to the country, setting yet another all-time record.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Planning Development and Statistics come alongside a new analysis of Qatar’s demographics that show the country’s population continues to be overwhelmingly male, uneducated and concentrated in Doha.

That’s despite a national vision of having a highly skilled workforce dispersed across the country.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Government figures state that were 2.37 million people within Qatar’s borders at the end of last month. That’s an increase of more than 9 percent, or 200,825 additional residents, from May 2014.

The new numbers are a reversal of signs over the last few months suggesting that the country’s population may be starting to level off.

This was thought to ring true as major energy projects are being postponed amid low oil prices, and Qatar’s infrastructure building boom approaches its peak.

The country is racing to build new roads, rail lines, hotels and stadiums ahead of the 2022 World Cup. There are some 18,500 currently working on the Doha Metro project alone.

Meanwhile, the influx of expats has necessitated new schools, hospitals and apartment blocks – as well as more construction workers to build them.

The country’s sustained population growth appears to be outpacing the expectations of many experts.

Last fall, Qatar National Bank predicted that the number of residents would increase by 7.4 percent annually in the coming years. But during the first five months of 2015, the annualized growth rate was actually between 8.7 percent and 10.3 percent.

Workforce profile

Qatar’s National Vision 2030 aims to turn the country into “a knowledge-based economy characterized by research, development and innovation.”

Getting there, according to the country’s National Development Strategy, “requires a transition from the current low-skilled, low-productivity and low-wage economy to a high-skilled, high-productivity and high-wage economy.”

However, a recently published government report said nearly three-quarters of Qatar’s workforce was comprised of unskilled or semi-skilled individuals in 2012.

Breakdown of expats' jobs in Qatar.
Breakdown of expats’ jobs in Qatar.

Additionally, nearly two-thirds of economically active expats hold a primary level education or less, Qatar’s Permanent Population Committee (PPP) found in Qatar Population Status 2013. In contrast, only 17 percent hold a university degree.

Among Qataris, the report said more nationals have joined the private sector in the past decade.

Still, while the proportion of economically active Qataris working for private firms more than doubled between 2004 and 2012, from 4 to 9 percent, the public sector continues to be the employer of choice, it added.

This is because government departments and institutions are perceived to offer higher salaries and better job security.

One of the report’s recommendations is for the government to introduce legislation that would require private companies to offer comparable wages and benefits to the public sector, in an effort to attract more Qataris and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign workers.

Population density

The PPP report also reinforced the popular perception that Doha is becoming much more crowded.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

There were 3,731 people/ square km living in Doha in 2012, up from 3,136 a year earlier.

The influx has continued to put a strain on the city’s road network and other infrastructure, such as water and sewer services.

To mitigate this, government planners have been actively encouraging residents to live outside Qatar’s capital by constructing new schools, healthcare facilities and recreational amenities in outlying areas.

However, many of Qatar’s major employers remain concentrated in the West Bay / Dafna area as well as along major commercial corridors such as C-Ring and D-Ring roads.

Thoughts?

22 COMMENTS

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Pete
Pete
6 years ago

“This is because government departments and institutions are perceived to offer higher salaries and better job security”

Isn’t it time to stop saying that government is “perceived” to offer a better deal. Surely it’s a fact, not a perception?

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Not higher salaries but defiantly less working hours and more job security. Private sector, banking, oil and gas pay much higher than govt jobs.

Usually if you own a business like many Qatari, whether it’s an accounting firm or a car wash, they pick a 8 to 1 government job so that most of the day is focused on their private business.

Also most Qatari moms pick govt jobs pushing papers as opposed to real meaningful careers. Stable work, good pay and short hours.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Private sector does not pay more than government sector, at least not in Qatar

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Yes it does.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Not in my experience, but I couldn’t speak to other sectors.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

If you’re working 1/2 the hours for the same pay as private then in reality it’s a higher salary.

Muhammedh Naufer
Muhammedh Naufer
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

agree with you on that!

onthefence
onthefence
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Its definately the working hours and benefits such as holiday entitlement that draw people to the public sector jobs. Ten hour days, six days week are typical in the private sector, look at the construction industry as a prime example.
The balance between more expendable income and no time to spend it, or less income and more free (family) time is the decision to make.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

With the exodus of western expats for various reasons and the downturn in O&G with professionals leaving, who will be visiting and spending money in all the new fancy malls? Will it be these new ‘blue’ collared workers…..

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

I wear T-shirts to work. What does that class me as, a no-collar?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Either that, or no-class. J/K 😉

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Collarless

Peaches
Peaches
6 years ago

I would love if the private sector offered the same benefits as the public sector. This would mean my 10hr days will be less and I can finally have a work/life balance. I am surprised only 17% have a degree, that can’t be right

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

17% sounds reasonable to me.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Many of those degrees are fake

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

As fake as many expats in Qatar concern for laborers.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

As fake as Qatari “culture” you mean?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

No, as fake as the multitude of reasons expats give as to why they can be in a top paid position in the developed world but chose Qatar “by mistake”.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

soo true

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

I bet that increase in population doesn’t include Pakistanis (or very few) because there has been a visa ban on them.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Never an official one but it’s easier to get a work visa for an Israeli

Marco
Marco
6 years ago

Feels more like an influx of Egyptians and Lebanese from the noticeable increase in traffic volume and aggressive driving over the last month or so.

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