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Friday, December 3, 2021

Survey: Female expats enjoy living in Qatar more than male counterparts

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

Qatar is apparently a more favorable expat destination for women than men, a new survey of more than 14,000 expats living in 195 countries has found.

According to the Expat Insider Survey 2015, carried out by networking website Internations, Qatar ranked nine spots ahead in terms of general satisfaction for female versus male expats  – 45th overall, versus 54th for men.

The survey does not specify why, but suggested that men were more likely to criticize the cost of living, and that women may find it somewhat easier to settle in.

Doha Skyline
Doha Skyline

Overall, Qatar remains relatively unpopular among global expats, despite rising four places in the rankings to 54th out of the 64 countries listed, compared to 58th out of 61 nations in last year’s survey.

The top three countries to live in this year were Ecuador, Mexico and Malta. The bottom three were Nigeria, Greece and Kuwait.

All survey respondents were quizzed on key areas like quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, ease of family life and cost of living.

In Qatar, the top three nationalities of expats questioned were from India (16 percent of respondents), the Philippines (15 percent) and the UK (11 percent.)

Construction was the main industry employing respondents, followed by education and business services.

Female workers

Whilst the preference of female versus male expats for Qatar is notable, both sexes still put the country far down the global rankings, at 45th for women and 54th for men.

Qatar country report
Qatar country report

By contrast, neighboring UAE ranks very highly for women.

It came in 13th, beating, among others, the USA and all Scandinavian countries, with women working there saying they find it relatively easy to settle in and that they are satisfied with their career prospects.

Qatar is further down the list for overall satisfaction due to a low ranking in several key areas, most notably family life (38 out of 41 countries), ease of settling in (51 out of 64) and quality of life (56 out of 64).

It does however rank relatively highly on ease of finding work abroad (29 of 64) and for financial benefits (also 29 or 64.)

‘Peaceful, but boring’

The Expat Insider country report for Qatar concludes that the country is “peaceful, but boring.”

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

It highlighted an apparent lack of leisure activities as one reason for its poor performance in the Quality of Life Index.

Less than half of the expats in Qatar (46 percent) considered available leisure activities to be good overall, compared to 75 percent of expats globally.

One anonymous expat quoted in the report states that “there’s little to do here other than shopping, which appears to be the primary pastime.”

Furthermore, Qatar’s roads and other transportation options come in for criticism, with 46 percent saying they are unhappy with the status quo, twice as many as the global percentage of 23 percent.

Long hours, separated families

According to the report, the average working week in Qatar is among the longest in the region at 46.3 hours.

That’s higher than the global average of 42 hours a week and ahead of regional neighbors like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which last 45.6 hours and 44.8 hours, respectively.

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

Qatar’s latest population figures show that out of a total tally of around two million people, only one in four is female, a ratio that has remained constant for years.

Perhaps reflecting this skewed figure, the report said that while 64 percent of expats in Qatar are in a relationship, around 30 percent of those people were in long-distance relationships, compared to a global average of 14 percent.

Qatar also ranked fairly poorly in terms of the cost of living, at 46th out of 64 countries, but still came ahead of more popular expat destinations like Australia and the UK.

Few local friends

Like last year, the report continued to highlight the divide between expats and locals in Qatar.

It states that just under half (49 percent) of the expats surveyed in Qatar found the local population to be friendly, compared to a global average of 72 percent of expats who rated the friendliness of nationals in their host countries.

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

Moreover, 36 percent said they’d found it hard getting used to the local culture, and 43 percent said that they didn’t feel at home in Qatar, compared to a global average of 61 percent.

Furthermore, half of all expats questioned also said that it was particularly hard to make friends with Qatari citizens, although the report notes that this may be due to the fact that Qatari nationals make up only 15 percent of the country’s total population.

On the positive side, almost two-thirds (65 percent) said that language barriers were not an issue in Qatar.

Do the findings jive with your experiences here? Thoughts?

64 COMMENTS

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Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

I agree the real reason is also the fact that a skews ratio plus Qatar is not Dubai even a cow looking women will be looked as an desert rose
Plus women are aware that men have no places to wind down like a seedy pub of pay and get love or easy to go hotel or Ashley Madison sites they remain at home like a domesticated animal plus for men malls are the worst places to go more to say but then truth will hurt

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

There’s plenty of seediness in Doha, whether it’s in bars or on apps like Tinder.

Describing men who don’t do this as ‘domesticated animals’ seems like an insult to the male of the species – many men are capable of and enjoy monogamous relationships.

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Yes I must wind down in the seediness where ever I may live. Are you seriously daft?

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

haha “even a cow looking women will be looked as an desert rose” hahaha so so true.
someone had to say it.

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

Unfortunately all this attention that gets lavished on us primarily comes from absolute losers, so it really doesn’t work out much better for us!

Katie

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

ah but these losers seem to be doing better than me, which tells me a lot about me!

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Your attitude towards women is totally Jurassic.

Actually, I take that back. It’s an insult to dinosaurs to compare them to you.

Katie
6 years ago

I’m not surprised by this.

This is my sixth year working in the Gulf and I don’t feel that being a woman has ever damaged my career prospects. On the other hand, during the year I spent working in the UK, I was ordered to wear high heels and makeup to meetings, which I thought was awful! Of course there are occasional frustrations that *could* be put down to sexism, but I feel like I’m respected by the vast majority of my colleagues.

I think women who work can make friends quite easily there, and there are lots of groups for mums who stay at home etc. My experience is that men to see things in quite a black-and-white way here, whereas women look for the odd splashes of colour you can come across.

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

Peaches
Peaches
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

hmm It’s different for me. I work in a male dominated environment 90% Indians and I find most of them can’t even look me in the eyes. They don’t take anything I say seriously and often bypass me when they have question. I stopped caring because I get paid whether they interact with me or not, but I am pretty invisible here.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

My English male boss (I’m Kiwi) asked me to get him a coffee and take a memo! Straight outta the 70s!! I said “pardon, I’m here to go over the Marketing Strategy for the next quarter, get it yourself”. I’ve met a lot of Western male bosses who act like children here, they know they wouldn’t get away with it back home.

Peaches
Peaches
6 years ago

great response lol I wonder what he face looked like when you said that. So your office doesn’t have a tea boy? We had a 200yr old british boss here once, roamed around the office like a snake watching everyone and he made full use of the tea boy whilst everyone else made their own coffee

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

I think I must just be really lucky where I work?

About 30% of my colleagues are Qatari. Most of them are very friendly and do their jobs well. All of the women chat to me and so do most of the guys. A few of the guys don’t, and I put that down to a combination of them not having great English plus coming from more traditional families, so I don’t mind – they’re never rude and help me out with anything I need work wise, they’re just not as chatty as the others.

I have Qatari friends too and I love them; the more I get to know them, the more the stereotypes are broken down for me.

Very few of my colleagues are Western; most of the rest are Arab with a few Indians. I make a huge effort with all my colleagues to get to know them, find out about their lives, their kids, what they were up to at the weekend etc. and in general I get along well with everyone.

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago

What is with the 60 hour work week most places have????

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Bajn

I thought that as well. I’d love to have a 48 hour week.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I would like to hire more women, but it’s difficult to get work visas for single women, especially for some countries. If you hire a married women, they’ve changed the rules now and the husband is not allowed to work.

Not surprised women are happier here than men. A pretty average looking European women suddenly becomes a supermodel in Doha surrounded by Arab and Asian men. I guess the huge gender imbalance is good for some!

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Sounds kind of misogynistic

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Trust me, the huge ratio of men to women here and getting leered at constantly is not a selling point for women who live here!

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

Couldn’t agree more!!

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

Depends on the woman has been my experience – some are quite content with it.

Paul
Paul
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Supply and demand

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul

What? Not enough women in the world?

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I used to beg my previous employer to hire more ladies and he stressed how he’s tried but couldn’t because of visas. They ended up hiring ladies already on their husbands sponsorship praying they wouldn’t get up and quit on a moment’s notice despite being on contract.

Pie
Pie
6 years ago

Retail therapy is a stress reliever to women. That’s why the husband should be abundant enough to cater the needs and wants of their wife….

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Pie

“Husband should be abundant”…I feel sorry for your husband if you have one, seeing him as a wallet for your retail therapy. Way too many females see males as their ticket to financial means and have material things and quite frankly it is insulting to the rest of us females.

Pie
Pie
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

SorRy….,but I belong to the LGBT group. Seeing female locals shopping as if everything will in that day with lots of shopping bags in their cart and with their household help. Maybe that defines what this article defined!

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Pie

I wouldn’t admit that in Qatar my friend! You will end up in jail.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Pie

Defined where? This article is about survey results primarily of female expats.

Foram
Foram
6 years ago
Reply to  Pie

You seem to have a funny idea about women… and men. Thanks a lot for that. For me the appeal is the weather not joking!), being relatively
close to interesting travel destination while having a good amount of
vacation days – and going out into the desert each weekend.The malls are just a local amusement spot for me: look, another mall! Who is making use of them all?!?

sadam
sadam
6 years ago
Reply to  Pie

too many people are in denial haha. below comments automatically think of cash, ever heard of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs?

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

This sound like “foreign women are “less” dissatisfied than foreign men”

Peaches
Peaches
6 years ago

I am ok overall here, a little bored with the lack of things to do and exhausted with my 45hr week. I haven’t socialized with the locals because I don’t come into contact with any of them, I just stare at them from afar as they hang around places like sugar and spice and Chac’late. I am just saving as much as possible and investing so when I leave here I never have to work again.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

Ditto in 6 years sadly I’ve only ever spoken to one or two Qatari, the ladies who work at the post office desk. The guys at airport immigration does that count? In the 6 countries I’ve lived as an expat this is bar far the most isolating.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

I’m Qatari feel free to add me on fb, no need to be isolated

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

I hate you!

Aey
Aey
6 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

It’s me the local guy staring back at you from Chac’late. Good luck in your life.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

In my job I’ve met a number of Qatari, and I’ve never had a problem with any of them. Conversation has always been civil and pleasant. We’ve come to agreement and understanding on common issues, and we’ve got there with good humour and honest intent on both sides. The one time my car broke down a Qatari got out of his car and helped me to get it going jump started it. But how can I see those individual pleasant personal experiences as anything but a false façade when the collective will of a nation results in laws designed to exploit it’s expatriate workers so badly, and a justice system that is so mistrusted? Maybe if there were dissenting Qatari voices raised against the Kafala and the labour laws then I could believe that there is enough humanity there to make me want to make friends with the Qatari, but there isn’t, and so I can’t. To suggest in a report that it’s hard to make friends with the Qatari because they represent only 15% of the population is either a deliberate attempt to deflect criticism or it is borne of total ignorance of how people of my culture think. And yes, Qatar is both harsh and desperately dull for a single male, which is why I believe I earn every last Riyal that I’m given.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

I was shocked once when a Qatari friend, who I in no way considered to be daft, told me that I needn’t ever worry about exit permits or NOCs, because, in his sincere belief, those things were only there for ‘Asians’ (not his actual word but you get the drift). Somehow I, as a white person, was immune from any impact of kafala, and therefore he couldn’t understand why I used to get so fired up about it.
I don’t know what was more disturbing about his view – that he thought that ‘white’ people were treated different to others, or that it was perfectly okay to treat others in that way.

Siling Labuyo
Siling Labuyo
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Unfortunately that’s the norm here. One of the victims of this kafala system is a close friend of mine, a highly-skilled professional who signed a two-year contract for a certain salary just to be with his fiancee here. When he got here he was given a lower salary and was kept here for over two years without being allowed to go on vacation for one month every year as was stated in his contract. He was made to do the work of three people and even the promised bonuses were denied even though the company was earning a huge profit from his labor. So many expats have similar experiences here and the report seems to totally ignore this fact.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Siling Labuyo

Why did he accept this slavery? He could have just stopped working and in the worst case scenario they would cancel his visa and fly him back. Your story is full of nonsense I am afraid.

Siling Labuyo
Siling Labuyo
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Sure…and land in the deportation jail like the other “runaway” slaves? Possibly languishing there for weeks/months, without earning anything and facing financial ruin as a pressure tactic to return to his employer? Or go to Qatar’s courts with what money for lawyers? You are so farking clueless.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Siling Labuyo

Yeah that’s it. Are you playing dumb? Have you ever heard about someone who resigned but got locked by his employer? If they report him to authorities as a runaway he can always show a copy of his resignation and his embassy will help him sort things out. Unfortunately it is people like your friend who make bad managers do what they want with their employees and get away with it.

Siling Labuyo
Siling Labuyo
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Very nice!! Blame the foreign worker instead of the actual culprit to avoid changing the system that allows these bad managers to treat their expat employees like slaves. Try to dig holes in the foreign workers’ stories so you can deflect attention from the bane of civilized society that is the kafala system. What else is new.

Kz
Kz
6 years ago
Reply to  Siling Labuyo

Your friend was stupid. And it is people like him that help the system. If he was unsatisfied, quit the job and leave. Thats what people do. No one would have arrested him. Its only when you try to change jobs people get stuck.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Kz

“Its only when you try to change jobs people get stuck” – said as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Alternative suggestion quit, and potentially leave a family back home destitute. Great idea.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yacine, I believe you are Qatari, so I’d ask you please to stop looking at everything from your somewhat secure nationalistic point of view, and put yourself in the position of an expat trying to survive in a foreign land. The point I think you are missing is that there is absolutely no trust by expats in anything to do with either Qatar’s employment system or it’s justice system. Everything is skewed in favour of the employer, and even DN has published enough examples to scare people from ever coming into contact with officialdom of any kind. I work for an employer who I consider to be at best unbalanced and at worst….well. He has connections at the top of the tree, and I genuinely fear that if I committed some (in his eyes) major transgression he would use everything in his power to make me regret it – and I’m what might be called a reasonably knowledgeable western professional so try and imagine what one of the “workers”, desperately fighting to sustain his family back home, might feel. Fear Yacine, of the state organs of Qatar, is what keeps the workers in check.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

I am not Qatari but I am someone who likes to have a fair and balanced view on things. Yes the system is biased towards employers, and yes many of them tend to abuse their employees, especially the Asian blue collar ones. That said, the story of this particular guy is weird. If he was stuck for 2 years with his bad employer, it is because he didn’t want to leave, not because his employer forced him to work and prevented him from leaving. He was probably stuck with a loan, or he may have thought that if he resigns he will go back to the old routine back home, with a basic job and a basic salary. Whatever his motives were, it is misleading to claim his employer held him for 2 years and forced him to work with him.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yacine you may not be Qatari but from your name and your posts generally you are from a country that is more aligned to Qatari culture than western culture. I try to give a “balanced view” as well, but the “balanced view” is inevitably founded on the culture of the viewer

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

So it is a problem now to have a culture “aligned” to the Qatari one? I am Muslim and Arab so you should expect my culture to have more similarities with Qatar than the UK! 🙂
As for the balanced view, I do not think it has anything to do with culture. It has more to do with integrity, neutrality and a sense of justice.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yacine – reading it again I actually agree that the story of the bloke doesn’t quite ring true. As for culture we are totally different. Yours is Islamic and mine is Christian, and I’m pretty sure we see things from those different perspectives.

Siling Labuyo
Siling Labuyo
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Well said. My friend’s employer was an influential man as well. As it is, the horror stories of workers that had had to deal with Qatar’s labor ministry and justice system pretty much puts many expats especially Asians off the idea of taking that route. Thankfully my friend finally managed to find a way to get back home. He is a manager there now and is earning more than he ever did here.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yes, I have. Embassies don’t get involved, and it is your word against that of a local. Good luck.

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

White privilege. It exists in the Land of the free, Home of the brave too.

Jen
Jen
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I get so worked up with visa story etc–I tried to get visas for my 2 South African nieces to visit (age 20 and 29) and it has been rejected 3 times! I would so love my family to come and visit, but it just seems impossible!

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

I’d love to see the calculation that arrived at an average working week of 46.3 hours. I assume it’s based only the number that is actually written into contracts and not the hours that you’re expected to work. Does it include Qatari? Part time workers? For me and I guess at least a few 100,000 others it’s about 13.7 hours too low – and that’s without ending up in a coffee bar discussing some lunatic scheme that will never be built.

Ali
Ali
6 years ago

When the population ratio in the country is 4 Men to 1 Woman, of course they would enjoy their lives with so much attention lol.

O
O
6 years ago

In my observance, most of local females here doesn’t like to explore in any outdoor activities. They just love shopping, eating and chit chatting.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  O

You may be confusing what local females like to do with what is socially acceptable for them to do here (with regards to outdoor activities). Unless of course you asked any instead of observing.

Craft
Craft
6 years ago

True to that, that Qatar is a boring country. I myself ended in shopping, jogging or having coffee. Whatelse to do in here? Any suggestion????

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Craft

You can do what I do and go to the north of Doha on a Saturday morning and cycle from one side of the country to the other. Gets a bit monotonous but at least I can free my mind of Dohaly thoughts. Bowling. Visit the museums (again). Go sailing and get sunburnt. No you’re right – there’s nothing to do. Chilling out at home with mates is the best you can expect.

irobot
irobot
6 years ago

I believe the findings are somewhat biased.
The internations databse maybe the best source of data as its mainly used by white collar workers / professionals.
However its agreebale that quality of life here is based on how well you can afford to pay for experiences. So if you compare female vs male white collar workers / professionals suerly the female workers are at an advantage as most of them are of privileged naitonalities allowing them to earn better pays or they are here with families which allow them to have better quality of life than the majority men who are living as bacherlors with jobs with average / below average pay resulting them not having the same quality of life.

Edward
Edward
6 years ago

“Men were more likely to criticize the cost of living.” Well, yeah, since in most cases it’s men who are responsible for paying the bills, whether it’s in Qatar or by remitting their wages back home. It’s not that easy for single women to get hired and get visas; a not-insignificant percentage of those are here expressly to find a husband. It’s no surprise that they would enjoy the environment since they are so scarce. Female privilege in action.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago

“On the positive side, almost two-thirds (65 percent) said that language barriers were not an issue in Qatar.”

I refuse to believe that statement is true! I speak both Arabic and English yet the majority of people I’ve had to deal with in my previous line of work can’t speak either. There is a huge language barrier here and an extreme lack of effort to learn either language. #JustSaying

Blue
Blue
6 years ago

Well just so it turns out a single lady in Qatar cannot get a visa for her brother any longer. Yeah I’d say I’m really happy living in Qatar after being denied a visa for my mother for a year and now for my brother (who has been here many times previously and who is married) and oh I enjoy working hard for this country and in return I wait to see my family only to have an immigration captain rudely ruin my day. I’m a happy female expat!

Will
Will
6 years ago

Of course they’re happier than men. Show me a country where the expat women outnumber the men 4:1 and you won’t see me for dust!

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