The promise of a steady paycheck and a chance to learn new skills on the job are among the top reasons why Qatar residents prefer to work as employees in a company, rather than pursue their own businesses, according to a new Bayt.com poll.
Fixed working hours was also a big draw, according to the results of the Bayt.com Middle East Entrepreneurship Survey, which interviewed nearly 9,000 people in 13 MENA countries.
In Qatar, some 50 percent of locals and expats surveyed said they’d prefer to work for a company, while 42 percent said they’d like to strike it out on their own. The results were on par with Oman and Saudi Arabia.
But residents in the UAE were more split, with 48 percent saying they would prefer to seek self-employment, versus 47 percent expressing a preference to work for a company.
In almost all countries across the MENA region, some 5,000 respondents survey last month who said they’d prefer to work in a company would rather be in the private sector instead of the public sector. In Qatar, however, the results were almost evenly split, with 48 percent saying they’d go private, while 52 percent preferred government jobs.
Making a difference
Among the budding entrepreneurs, personal fulfillment, the freedom to choose work-life balance and the ability to give back to the community were among the top reasons for their business choices.
But those who have tried to start businesses in Qatar and elsewhere in the region have encountered no shortage of obstacles, the survey found:
“Interestingly, in the GCC ‘strict rules and regulations laid out by government’ is a greater concern than elsewhere with 61 percent in Saudi, 55 percent in Qatar, 53 percent in Kuwait, 48 percent in Oman, 38 percent in Bahrain and 37 percent in the UAE saying so (compared to 31 percent overall).”
Additionally, those who want to start their own businesses cited an inability to procure financial support (68 percent) as the main barrier to entry.
Speaking to the National, Bayt.com’s vice president for sales, Suhail Masri, said:
“It would seem there are issues standing in the way of people becoming self-employed. With finance being the number one problem across the Middle East, it suggests that the region needs more angel investors to step in and help local entrepreneurs.
It might also be of benefit for authorities to reconsider their policies, as less stringent regulations could encourage the creation of more start-ups.”
Though Qatar, which is working to diversify its economy away from oil and gas, has been cited as one of the Gulf’s largest youth entrepreneurship hubs, business owners have long lamented the arduous process of registering a company here.
High startup costs and a great deal of paperwork discourage people from making inroads in this regard. A new Commercial Company Law to facilitate the process of establishing businesses is in process, but there have been updates on the legislation in recent months.
Here’s the full Bayt.com report:
Would you rather be an employee or an entrepreneur? Thoughts?
Credit: Photo by Diego Dalmaso