The vast majority of locals – some 92 percent of the Qatari workforce – work in the public sector. But the slow growth in government jobs and the need to shore up the skills of nationals to prepare for a future without natural gas mean changes must take place, a new QNB report has found.
Despite a marginal increase in the number of Qataris working in the private sector over the past four years, government jobs continue to hold more appeal because of better pay, shorter working hours and lower barriers to entry, the Qatar Economic Insight 2012 report states.
But the status quo is not sustainable, it adds:
The private sector provides opportunities for nationals to gain knowledge and skills from expatriates. This is central to establishing the new businesses and industries that are part of Qatar’s long-term development goals of diversification and job creation (the government will not be able to provide the vast majority of Qatari jobs indefinitely).
Last year, expats continued to make up 99 percent of the private sector workforce, which added almost 10 times as many jobs in the last four years as the government and accounted for 75 percent of all jobs in 2011.
Meanwhile, a Labor Ministry study recently found that young Qataris are not qualified to meet the demands of the job market.
Taking all this into account, the National Development Strategy recommends a three-pronged approach to increase the proportion of Qataris in the private sector to 15 percent by 2016:
- Reduce barriers to entry for women in the private sector.
- Encourage entrepreneurship. Only 3 percent of working Qataris are either employers or self-employed.
- Level differences in pay and benefits for nationals in the public and private sectors.
The last point leads to a question that the report hasn’t addressed – provided there are enough skilled Qataris entering the workforce in the next few years, what happens if companies in the private sector simply cannot afford to hire them?
Read the full report here:
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