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Posted On: 23 June 2008 10:20 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Multiple factors affect Qatarisation: Forum

Khalifa Al Haroon
Khalifa Al Haroon
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari
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An insufficient supply of well-educated and well-trained nationals is widely acknowledged to be among factors hampering the ‘Qatarisation’ process in the country. This has meant certain types of job vacancies are not being filled and prevailing attitudes among nationals in relation to working hours and practices are also proving detrimental to filling jobs in the private sector. At a recent gathering of key HR industry stakeholders for a 'Qatarisation' forum hosted, it was agreed employee retention is a critical enabler for organisations to maintain competitive advantage. The forum members agreed engineering customised training and development programmes is an essential trigger for optimising local participation in industry while diversification from 'safe' jobs in the public sector and from traditional sectors like oil and gas should be encouraged. "One of the main challenges faced by private enterprises aside from competition is the problem of maintaining, engaging and developing their most vital asset - their personnel," said Amer Zureikat, of Bayt.com. He said: "This is particularly true of Qatar, where competition for top talent is fierce to fill the jobs in booming growth sectors. Yet, training and mentoring for careers is often insufficient and unsystematic and doesn't always match the needs or demands of the local job market." The importance of staff training and development was reflected recently in independent research commissioned by Bayt.com and YouGovSiraj on the region's consumer confidence, which is used to understand and measure the attitudes of Middle Eastern consumers to the economy and their job situation, and to the employment market in general. The May study showed a strong lack of satisfaction with career opportunities in Qatar. Only 26 percent of the respondents cited satisfaction with their current job and career prospects as high, with 43 percent saying they were neutral. A fifth of Qatar's respondents to the survey stated satisfaction with career growth was low, with 36 percent citing it as neutral. Against this backdrop, Qatar's respondents remained the most optimistic of all the surveyed countries for the future, with 58 percent citing there will be more jobs available next year, compared to the 16 percent who believe there will be fewer jobs available. "As supported by the findings of previous research and in light of the issues discussed during the forum, setting a strategic cohesive training and development agenda is the key to empowering nationals to enter and create a positive impact on the local job market," Zureikat said. Among the solutions the forum participants came up with were students and fresh graduates should be familiarised with available training and development methods by meeting, hearing and learning from employed and retired nationals who are 'success stories' Private companies in Qatar would benefit from doing more to 'sell their employment brand' and make employment and the subsequent development opportunities within their organisation an attractive option. Tying up with educational institutions would improve the relationship between private enterprises and young national students and would help to attract them to their businesses on graduation. The forum agreed salaries in a number of industries did not correlate to the high inflation rate, thus limiting interest in such industries. A dichotomy occurs however, where despite the relatively lower salaries of the public sector, nationals are more inclined to seek work in its employ.