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Posted On: 10 March 2011 10:50 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Schooling cited as a challenge for expatriates

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One of the world’s largest recruiters, Michael Page International (MPI) yesterday mentioned shortage of school space in Qatar as the single largest challenge when relocating potential employees in the country. “When we recruit people we can get them a house, healthcare providers… there’s not a lot of logistical hurdles. But getting children into schooling for expatriates is the challenge,” MPI regional managing director Matthew Gribble told Gulf Times. MPI, with presence in 29 countries around the world and over 4,500 consultants, has been active in the Gulf since 2006, with offices first in Dubai, and later in Abu Dhabi and now in Doha. “We’ve established ourselves here (Doha), close to the clients so we can better understand what they are looking for. MPI provides professional talent across a range of disciplines from accounting to engineering and procurement to human resources and everything in between,” Gribble said. Other than the physical shortage of schools, Gribble said most expatriates the company moves to Qatar love the “nice family lifestyle, the tax-free aspect, the stability.” According to him, demand from MPI clients in Qatar – majority of them the ‘Q’ companies and multinationals – has been picking up. “The demand in Qatar has picked up based on a range of factors … the continued investment in oil and gas; from upstream right through the refining and petrochemicals, and obviously with the World Cup 2022 bid being successful, its crystallised plans for hotels, commercial and industrial development,” Gribble said. Engineering at 30% tops the MPI statistics for demand by job type in Qatar, followed by accounting at 20%. Human resources, IT, banking, procurement, and sales and marketing make up the rest with 10% each. “Recruitment is driven by projects of clients based in Qatar and what they are doing with their businesses. I think if you look at the World Cup, there’s now a deadline for developing roads, metro, stadiums, hotels and residential properties,” Gribble said. And while the demand for recruitment has picked up in Qatar, the country is also – ironically – benefiting from the political upheavals around the region. “Strangely enough, we see it (the political changes) as having a beneficial impact, because Doha is very stable and a safe place. “Therefore you are seeing that companies that have staff in other parts of the region, relocating some of their staff here and some even their offices to Doha,” Gribble pointed out. Also the concentration of world-class projects is higher in Qatar, and in many places employees can get in early stages of business and projects. “Often time people get to work as a formation member of an organisation that is world-class. That is something that interests the talent,” he said. By Sarmad Qazi