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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Survey sheds light on work and leisure habits of Qataris, expats

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qataris-souq.jpg

The average Qatari national spends more than five hours a day engaged in leisure and cultural activities – 50 percent more than the average expat, according to a new government study examining what people in Qatar do with their day.

Qatar’s first-ever Time Use survey, undertaken by the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS), shows that the average Qatari works shorter hours and spends more time on leisure pursuits, studying and praying than a non-Qatari resident.

The study records how a sample of 16,574 Qatari and non-Qatari residents above the age of 15 spent their time during the year between Sept. 20, 2012 and Sept. 19, 2013.

It aims to chart the quality of life residents have, and to look at the role and economic contribution of Qatari women, as part of a wider social and economic analysis, the MDPS said.

However, a number of caveats should be taken into account when looking at the data. For example, it stated that only 49 percent of Qatari men and 28 percent of Qatari women are involved in income-generating activities. However, there is no breakdown of the numbers of respondents by age category, leaving open the possibility that those who are studying at school or university, or who are retired, are affecting the figures.

These numbers are also at odds with the ministry’s second quarter Labor Force Surveypublished earlier this year, which put the figure for the number of  “economically active” Qatari men working at 69 percent alongside a third of Qatari women.

Also, while the statistics for nationals is broken down by gender, it is not for expats. Across the whole population, men in Qatar outnumber women by 3:1.

Hours spent each day on activities for Qatari and non-Qataris respectively, MDPS

Working day

A new survey helps put the pieces together on how local residents spend their day.
A new survey helps put the pieces together on how local residents spend their day.

The average Qatari woman works for slightly fewer hours (7 hours and 26 minutes) than the average Qatari man (8 hours and 11 minutes).The Time Use study found that the average working day for an employed Qatari is less than that of an expat – 7 hours and 53 minutes, compared to 9 hours and 27 minutes.

They are all still shorter than the estimated average working day of domestic staff in Qatar, which is among the longest in the world.

report published in January last year by UN agency the International Labour Organisation found that those employed in private households work 60 hours a week on average, although some human rights experts have put the actual figure at nearer 100 hours a week for some workers.

Based on a six-day-week, this would come to around 16 hours a day.

When all respondents – including those who don’t work at all – are included, the figures decline significantly. The average Qatari spent less than 3 hours a day on “income generating activities,” while the average non-Qatari works more than twice as much – 6 hours and 24 minutes.

The different makeup of the country’s nationals and expats likely has a strong influence on these figures. A higher percentage of foreigners are active in the local labor force than their Qatari peers, since expats generally don’t retire in Qatar and not all foreign workers are able to sponsor their non-working family members.

Time off

Looking at how people in Qatar spend their leisure time, the MDPS found that that the average Qatari spends more than a fifth of their day (5 hours and 17 minutes) in culture or recreation. This includes watching TV, reading books, surfing the net, travelling, engaged in hobbies or visiting relatives.

This compares to the average expat, who spends just 14.6 percent of their day (3 hours and 31 minutes) on these activities.

The report does not give a breakdown of the amount of time spent on each type of leisure activity. Spending time with family is an important part of the local culture for Qataris, who are also more likely to have relatives living in the country – factors that may have influenced the figures.

The average Qatari also spends more time praying than the average expat (49 minutes versus 28 minutes).

However, time spent on “personal needs” – sleeping, personal care and eating – takes up nearly half the day for both Qataris and non-Qataris (11 hours and 18 minutes vs. 10 hours and 51 minutes).

In line with cultural norms, the average Qatari women spends the most time on household duties – 3 hours and 19 minutes, compared to a Qatari man (1 hour and 50 minutes) and the average expat (2 hours and 5 minutes).

Across all the respondents, the average Qatari spends 1 hour and 8 minutes a day on education and learning, more than twice the time devoted to the activity by the average expat (25 minutes).

A total of 14 percent of Qataris and 7 percent of non-Qataris described themselves as involved in this activity, meaning they are students. Of those, their average day works out at a fairly similar length (8 hours and 22 minutes for Qataris and 7 hours and 56 minutes for non-Qataris).

A full version of the study’s findings can be found here.

Thoughts?

29 COMMENTS

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Abdulla
Abdulla
6 years ago

Just would like to point out a quote I find rather pleasant. “When there is inequality in the distribution of power, the stronger side is not expected to perform as well as the weaker side, leading to an imbalanced society”. This quote can be interpreted in different ways, but in this case, the Qatari’s are the weakest side. Why? Again, because if you give one side too much power (e.g Qataris earning tons of salaries without putting much effort into something), you shouldn’t expect them to be hard working.

Anyone would be viewed as lazy if they get so much money without actually working for it, you see.

Ex-pats are likely to work ten times harder than the locals because they’re merely serving their purpose in Doha.

With respect,

A Qatari citizen.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulla

Well personally I know that if I could afford it I would rather spend a lot more time enjoying the company of my family than plugging away in an office

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

The average Qatari woman works for slightly fewer hours (7 hours and 26 minutes) than the average Qatari man (8 hours and 11 minutes)—-is this per week?

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

No wonder I am stressed out.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

sitting behind a desk on your blackberry is not work! Even if you are in a workplace, but hey who is going to challenge you? No one as they will get deported…

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Yes, it would be preferable if they get welcomed to the country like they do in your home town

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LVeqqBZTQ4

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

I note the picture is of Souk Waqif… the single male labourers get bounced out by the racist police, so not a true indication of broad recreation! Come to Qatar enjoy our tourism destination, unless of course you are Asian we might mistake you for one of our slaves and bounce you out….

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One
Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

the article is about leisure habits and work habits, i find it hilarious how you try to spin the topic into something you want to whine about through the picture of the souq. if you wish to share your opinion on labourers and how they are treated maybe you should mention that in an article about the subject?

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago

How is it newsworthy let alone controversial to say that the average local has a better work life balance than the average expat ? It would be extremely odd if they didn’t. This is akin to “Breaking News: Pope discovered to be Catholic”.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Everyone, calm down. The facts in this article can very easily be proven. Everyone chips in to give me a big pile of money, preferably on an ongoing, indefinite basis. I guarantee the result will be me spending more time on leisurely activities with my family

Zaheer
Zaheer
6 years ago

Lately im seeing more Qatari vs Non Qatari’s all over social networking sites and here .. i see no sense in categorizing people into groups .. if this goes on ..soon we il b seeing Asians vs Arabs ..west vs east …etc .. let this country be peaceful

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