Reserving jobs for citizens in the private sector is welcome but none of the qualified nationals eligible to take up private employment will be willing to do so, says a prominent member of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI).
“I don’t think qualified fellow citizens would ever want to take up private jobs. They all prefer government sector employment,” Ahmed Al Rais said.
Citizens looking for jobs broadly fall into three categories: those who are highly qualified and can really contribute positively to the growth of the private sector; those who have taken voluntary retirement; and, finally, those who have been sacked due to problems they created at their work place.
“We, the owners of private businesses, want only qualified fellow citizens to work with us, not people from the other two categories,” said Al Rais.
But the problem is that they would never take up private jobs, for they prefer to enter the lucrative government sector. “I think job nationalization as a policy should be restricted to banks, the government and quasi-government sectors,” he said.
“If those who are highly educated and experienced enough and fulfill our requirements are willing to come and join private companies, they are welcome, but to be honest, the likelihood is quite remote.”
The situation as regards employment of nationals in Qatar is quite different from that in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Oman. In these countries, there are people needing jobs. There are families entirely dependent for their survival on the employment of their bread-winners.
In Qatar, even the poorest of the poor have a villa and at least two cars. A poor family on average here does not struggle for two square meals a day, said Al Rais. “So, you can see that due to the relative prosperity of nationals, the issue of unemployment needs to be tackled differently,” he added.
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