Businesses in Qatar appear to be tightening their belts when it comes to spending on salaries in the coming year, with many saying they expect to increase wages in 2015 by a smaller rate than the year before.
In a new report of 500 regional companies, including 47 from Qatar, salaries are expected to increase 5.2 percent here in 2015, which is slightly less than the 5.6 percent the survey predicted for 2014.
However, the 5 percent is significantly less than the 8 percent jump in wages that Cost of Living Reports Middle East forecast for 2014.
The conservative forecast comes amid a continuing rise in the cost of living in Qatar, particularly with regards to rental accommodations, meaning people working here have less money in their pockets at the end of the month.
The new figures, released by global recruitment organization Aon Hewitt, show Qatar employees are predicted to have slightly lower increases than some of their peers in the region, including Saudi Arabia (5.4 percent), Oman (5.4 percent) and Kuwait (5.3 percent).
However, at 4.8 percent and 4.5 percent, the UAE and Bahrain’s increases are less than Qatar’s. The GCC average stands at 5.1 percent.
While forecasted increases for Qatar salaries in 2013 and in 2014 were 5.6 percent, the actual boost to workers’ wages over this year has been 5.1 percent, according to the latest Global Salary Increase Survey.
Talk of wage increases comes as Qatar enters a new phase of economic expansion, and begins a global scramble to attract the brightest and best to ensure it meets deadlines for many infrastructure projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Regional competition to attract skilled workers has intensified since November, after Dubai was selected to host the World Expo in 2020.
In a report issued this month, QNB forecast a significant expansion of Qatar’s labor force, saying more women and white-collar employees are expected to be brought on board to keep pace with development.
The majority of new residents, however, will be construction workers, propelling the population from around 2.2 million to 2.5 million by 2016, the report stated.
Expats mulling job offers in Qatar, on the belief they can expect sizable salaries with regular annual increases, may pause given the latest wage forecasts.
A report published earlier this year found Qatar to be the most expensive country in the GCC, due to its high cost of living.
Meanwhile, daily living in Qatar continues to get more expensive, with residential rents in particular showing increases of nearly 8 percent year-on-year, and many schools this year allowed to increase their fees by up to 10 percent.