A recent survey has found that many employees in Qatar feel financially insecure, dissatisfied with their jobs and are considering moving abroad to find work elsewhere.
The results of the latest Career Aspirations in Middle East and North Africa online study, conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov, show that Qatar workers’ wanderlust reflects a similar sentiment across the MENA region.
Overall, 73 percent of all respondents said they would consider relocating internationally to find better employment. The poll included responses from some 8,963 residents in a dozen countries, suggesting that the local findings represent a small proportion of Qatar’s population.
The large number of respondents who say they would consider employment in another country could be driven in part by the significant population of expats working in the Gulf, many of whom are on fixed contracts or only plan to live abroad for a relatively short period.
The UAE is the favored destination for those currently working in Qatar, at 39 percent.
Notably, while many residents based here are looking at employment opportunities outside the country, Qatar is perceived to be an attractive location for those currently working elsewhere in the region.
Across the region, Qatar comes out as the joint-second choice of place to work, along with Saudi Arabia, for 13 percent of those surveyed.
The findings paint a complex picture of working life in Qatar. While the country’s multiple infrastructure projects make it an attractive destination for many of those working outside the state, some of the figures reflect a concern by current residents about rising costs.
Only one-third of Qatar respondents said they were happy with their work environment, making Qatar workers among the least-satisfied in the GCC, after Bahrain where just 24 percent expressed their satisfaction.
While a sizable percentage of people polled (32 percent) were indifferent to their working situation, Qatar also had the highest proportion of those who were very or somewhat unhappy with their job, at 34 percent. Employees in Saudi followed just behind, with 32 percent dissatisfaction.
In comparison, employees in Oman appear to be most content in their jobs in the Gulf (41 percent).
Asked about their top problems, financial issues came out first in Qatar for more than half of all respondents (53 percent). Other concerns included:
- Career path uncertainty (38 percent);
- Concern about work/life balance (31 percent); and
- Worry about employment/loss of job (24 percent).
Less than half (47 percent) of those quizzed said they had their perfect job in Qatar, while only just over half (58 percent) of Qatar employees said they were motivated at work.
Reflecting the desire to shore up their financial stability, a higher salary and better perks were the reasons most workers said would improve their drive and dedication at their job (60 percent).
Of those looking to move jobs, salary and benefits were the single biggest issue in choosing a job (84 percent), compared to job security, which was the key attraction for only just over a quarter of prospective job hunters in Qatar.
With the cost of living on the rise in Qatar, particularly in the past year, many employees have said they are feeling the pinch.
One-fifth of people polled in Qatar said they don’t save any of their pay, while 41 percent save less than 10 percent of their annual salary.
However, Qatar workers seem to be better off than their colleagues around the region. Some 29 percent of Bahrain employees save nothing, while in Jordan almost half (48 percent) of the working respondents said they didn’t save a dinar.
Workers in Oman are among the region’s most thrifty, with 10 percent claiming to be able to save more than half of their salary, compared to 7 percent in Qatar.
Commenting on the figures, Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at Bayt.com, said in a statement:
“Different projects around the Middle East region are generating more opportunities, especially in the GCC. These projects are however, driving up costs, making respondents more anxious about savings and salaries.
Employers must take this into consideration going forward, both with current employees and future hires.”
The survey also noted that Qatar workers strongly prefer to be employed by a company rather than striking out on their own, perhaps reflecting the quest for financial security.
More than half (52 percent) said they would rather be an employee than an entrepreneur, which is the highest figure across the MENA region, while less than a third (30 percent) said they wanted to start their own business.
Workers in Bahrain and Saudi appear to have a more entrepreneurial spirit, polling 46 and 44 percent respectively in favor of working for themselves.
Unsurprisingly, construction (29 percent) was the sector representing most of Qatar’s survey respondents , followed by tourism and hospitality (8 percent), then oil and gas (7 percent).
However, despite the ongoing construction boom, only 15 percent cited construction as the sector they would like to work in, while oil & gas was the desired field for 14 percent of workers.
Aside from financial concerns, the majority of Qatar’s workers (83 percent) said they were positive about the coming year.
The online survey was conducted from 3 until 10 December 2014, with 8,963 respondents from the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.