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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Survey: Qatar salaries not keeping up with increasing living costs

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

Many employees working in Qatar believe their pay is failing to keep pace with ongoing increases in the cost of living, according to the results of a recent regional survey of workers’ salaries.

While a slim majority of expats still say they’re better off living and working in Qatar than their home countries, human resources experts say local employers need to address the perceived compensation gap if they want to recruit and retain talented professionals.

The latest study of salaries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by online recruitment company Bayt.com and market research agency YouGov found that 85 percent of Qatar respondents said they felt the cost of living in this country rose during 2014.

However, more than a third (38 percent) said they did not get any increase in their salaries during the year to compensate.

Of those who felt their daily costs had gone up last year, more than a quarter (27 percent) said their expenses had increased by more than 20 percent.

Higher rent, food and utility bills were the key reasons for the increased costs, respondents said.

Excerpt from 2015 MENA salaries survey
Excerpt from 2015 MENA salaries survey

Looking ahead, 80 percent of Qatar employees predicted their living costs would keep rising throughout this year, compared to slightly more than half (55 percent) who expected to receive a salary raise during the same period.

Residents across the Gulf appear to be expecting a more expensive year ahead, though not to the same extent as those in Qatar. The percentage of respondents in nearby nations who also forecast increased living costs in 2015 were:

  • Kuwait (80 percent);
  • UAE (79 percent);
  • Oman (77 percent);
  • Saudi Arabia (75 percent); and
  • Bahrain (71 percent).

Citing reasons for their static salaries, 21 percent said it was due to “poor corporate performance and decreased profitability of their company” while nearly a quarter (24 percent) attributed it to a “bad economy,” the survey found.

Economic impact

Falling global oil prices have affected companies in Qatar, particularly in the energy sector where some firms are reining in non-essential spending, laying off staff or implementing hiring freezes.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s cost of living keeps climbing, mainly due to increases in residential rent as the nation’s growing hospitality, healthcare and construction sectors fuel demand for housing.

Real estate experts previously told Doha News that the supply of quality housing is not keeping up with need, meaning residential rent is expected to continue climbing at a rate of 5 to 10 percent throughout 2015.

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

According to Bayt.com, higher living costs appeared to have had an impact on some employees’ savings, with nearly a fifth of Qatar respondents admitting they saved nothing from their monthly salaries last year.

However this is less than the regional average, where nearly a third (32 percent) said they saved nothing during 2014.

In contrast, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of people working in Qatar said they managed to send some money home last month, and more than half of all respondents (53 percent) said they were better off in Qatar in terms of their quality of life than they would be if they were working and living in their home countries.

Suhail Al-Masri, vice-president of sales for Bayt.com, said the survey findings showed “a growing gap between the cost of living in Qatar and salary earnings and propensity to save.”

In a statement, he added:

“Most respondents (79 per cent) from across the Middle East and North Africa region are expecting a further increase in the cost of living in 2015. This means that employers must quickly address this widening disparity if they want to effectively tap into the local and regional talent pool.”

Data for the latest Bayt.com survey was collected online from March 30 to April 6. Results were based on a sample of 12,158 respondents from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

Are you expecting a raise this year? Thoughts?

44 COMMENTS

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raaju
raaju
6 years ago

There are some reputed companies which couldn’t able to revise their Employees pays since more than TEN years. Thoughts

Allen
Allen
6 years ago
Reply to  raaju

Couldn’t or wouldn’t?

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Allen

Wouldn’t, for sure

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  raaju

QF you mean ?? its been sucking so much money it becoming just stupid

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

Talented professionals don’t come to Qatar in the first place…

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Sadly true in my limited experience – I am certainly not top-tier in my field, and no one in my office is. We’re all middlin’ competence. The highly talented fast-burners are on a different circuit, or if they do make Qatar they get frustrated and leave at the first opportunity. I’ve long wondered why Qatar can’t attract the top-tier talent.

Student
Student
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Don’t settle for mediocrity, Mr Mouse. You’re only going to be on this earth once, get out there and be ‘top tier’!

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Student

Oh, I and my office mates are good at our jobs and by Qatar standards we are among the best, but that is just it ‘by Qatar standards’.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

How true is that statement, it is so easy to be a big fish in a small lake….. only in Qatar can a Britisher plumber become a Maintenance Manager in a major O&G company…..

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yeah. We are all very competent, but no one is among the big international names in the field that anyone would immediately recognize, or know by reputation. We had one, but she only stayed about 3 months. I think that her experience poisoned the well for any other big international names.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Or a British dog trainer to become Security Manager 🙂

Elizabeth Wardle Walker
Elizabeth Wardle Walker
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

My husband is very talented in his field, thanks

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Ridiculous comment. In the height of the financial crisis, when 1000’s of professionals in the volatile construction/hospitality sectors in Europe were made redundant and absolutely no jobs were available, many like myself bit the bullet and came to the Middle East to maintain an income stream, and an income at least at the same level as Europe. The pendulum has swung however, because in a recovering Europe those professionals with a track record of success are now in demand there, and the Middle East with it’s alien culture is daily becoming a less attractive option.

Marco
Marco
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

And times have improved. Many are now heading back.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

They might be enticed/conned but they certainly won’t stay …

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

In general this is true, but there are exceptions to the rule. I have met a few people here that are top notch.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

so true. look at the quality of projects being done in doha for the last 10 years.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago

Money isn’t everything. Hi-class experts leave because they can’t work under the strange mentality here. Projects are changed at will in the middle of the process because a Sheikh wants it so. You can’t tell a highly acclaimed architect to change his design, he will leave. Ashghal has a permanent problem with this.

Bingo
Bingo
6 years ago

I would rather say that every individual is unique in himself. It is our destiny which brought us here, and those who have adapted stayed and rest vanished. In my terms it is called an interpersonal skills.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

I doubt if salary increases are keeping pace with inflation for most.

The official inflation rate bears little relation to the actual inflation of prices for rent, food and entertainment on the ground. The official figure is around 3.7% but there’s a 25% weighting towards the global interest rate which brings it down considerably. Also the authorities keep changing the basket (collection of goods and services included to calculate the local rate), taking out stuff like food and clothing and adding air fresheners and potting plants. The inflation rate is probably 7-10% depending on your rent-to-income ratio and whether you have your family with you.

This probably explains why expats who have been here longer than 2 years feel worse off compared to last year.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

You are right. My “basket” essentially consists of rent, food, airline tix, school fees and subsidizing Qatar Airways thru my QDC membership. That puts my official 2014 inflation rate in the 7-8% range. My 2014 salary increase was 0.0000%, so there you have it.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

The reason why people do not get a pay rise is that many of them work in the government. I worked 3 years in the government and not only it was a complete waste of time, there was also no pay rise or promotion during the 3 years, and that was for all expats not only me. And this is the rule per the Qatari HR Law.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That should be no surprise. Very few deserve a pay rise. The vast majority of expats working for the government and QP are overpaid and underqualified. Add to that the tax-free package, lax office hours and schooling for kids, most of them, especially the ones that hail from messed-up countries, would accept even a pay cut and hang on until they are get rid of. Back home they would not get even close to what they get paid here.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

While QP has a different rules for its salaries and benefits, what you said is generally true. I worked with Egyptians, Sudanese, French, Germans, Americans, Australians, Syrians, and many other nationalities. To my surprise, the Westerners were the least useful and the most “corrupt” of all. By corrupt I mean mostly abusing the business trips system but also, for some of them, influencing tenders for some parties and getting their commission paid back home.

The Arabs and the Indians were the best. They know the market, they know how things work, they understand clearly what Qataris want, and they know how to manage and deal with all the different stakeholders. The Westerners act as if they have all the knowledge and start dictating their own view. Needless to say, they are most of the time off the mark. The problem is that Westerners have usually the highest positions, and this explains the mess many government institutions are in now.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

You missed the mark by a mile. Arabs and Indians on British or American passports are by far the worst and the most corrupt, yet they demand higher salaries because of the western passport.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Nope. I am talking about my experience in the government for 3 years. Those who abused the system were mostly white British and white Americans, though there were also Arabs and Indians doing the same thing (whether with an American/British passport or no), but definitely on a lesser scale. Again, based on my experience, the Westerners were the most greedy and most harmful to the company.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Deleting this thread because it’s stereotyping.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

That was an interesting discussion and as usual you come and cut it short 🙁

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

try stereotyping Qataris , its acceptable in according to DN.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Interesting to a handful of people, but off topic. In which case, you can continue the discussion on our member’s forum. Or, email each other to discuss 🙂

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Your members forum? Where is that? It is the first time I hear of it

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

More info here: https://dohanews.co/join/ 🙂

Siling Labuyo
Siling Labuyo
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

“Overpaid and underqualified” is not true in my case; I was very much underpaid and overworked for almost five years (and I have worked with some of the best in my country before that). The reality is that salaries and positions here are given largely based on nationality, and many people are given very low positions and salaries while doing the tasks of a much higher position for which they have the corresponding qualifications. Of course we are here because we couldn’t earn the same money back home, but that is no excuse for exploitation.

Gracie
Gracie
6 years ago
Reply to  Siling Labuyo

This is very true in my Company. Pay is nationality based and not competence based and as a result the Company is losing really good people but they still don’t care. All about profit for them

Koko71
Koko71
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

How dare you generalize. I’ve worked for the government and I am actually willing to work but unfortunately the lack of attitude comes from higher management. Expats aren’t allowed to make decisions, just do the job in hand.. and on top of that, no accommodation allowance, no school fee allowance, no raise in salary, no bonus at the end of the year, no promotion (ur an expat) and UNDERPAID… Hopefully something will change there coz salaries are based on National – Non-National and which Non-National you are..

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Though everything is getting more expensive by the day, the most annoying thing is the rent. People find themselves not only putting a sizable percentage of their salary into rent, but this percentage increases by 5 or 10 per cent every year. Unless companies provide accommodation or a decent allowance, rent will always be an issue for most expats here.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

If my employer didn’t provide housing (which I still pay taxes on as income) there’s no way would I stay here.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Housing projects should keep expanding to outer areas so that reduced land and project cost Lead To Lower rent. Job offers will become unattractive if 50 % salary goes towards rent

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Hands up everyone who falls into the blue category above…not me.

PWA EMPLOYEE
PWA EMPLOYEE
6 years ago

Salary in GOV org like PWA is not increase from last six years only few got increment,
Medical & Children School allowance are removed six year ago…
and there is no sign of increment in coming years…

Marco
Marco
6 years ago

Salaries aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living here? No s&*t, Sherlock!

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago

Mediocrity is because of NOC limitations. Company will have to adjust with current average employee even if owner/MD wants to recruit a better employee from another company…mediocre guy ends up working in Qatar for a lifetime with no threat of losing his job..

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago

If I was a landlord, I would be ashamed to increase rent without any addition in value. Rent went up 7.2%, still no covered parking.

Soliman Al Samman
Soliman Al Samman
6 years ago

I think they are better than salaries in many other arab countries

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