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Qatar - 900,000 Expat Workers by 2015

The size of the foreign labour force in economically vibrant Qatar is expected to be a little over 900,000 by the year 2015 as about 586,000 new jobs will be needed during the period from now until then.

According to details available with the Permanent Population Committee, the total Qatari workforce is likely to increase from 50,300 in 2004 to 117,600 in 2015. The Qatari workforce numbers are expected to grow at the rate of 6,100 per year taking the total for the above period to 67,300.

The demand for labour during the above period is likely to rise from 437,600 in 2004 to more than one million (1.024m) in 2015.

The shortage of labour in Qatar is especially visible in occupations to do with manual work and jobs that nationals do not want to take up. The shortfall is particularly evident in professional and technical jobs and those dealing with sales and service.

The size of the labour force in the country has more than doubled from 200,000 in 2004 to 444,000 in 2004. Qatari nationals accounted for only 12 per cent of the total labour force and only one per cent of private sector employment.

Qatari nationals mainly worked in areas like education, energy, public administration, health and social work, while expatriates dominate other jobs, mainly in the private sector.

Unemployment rates for Qatari males and females were 3.9 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, in 2004.

The majority of the unemployed were youths who were new entrants into the job market after having completed secondary or university education.

The phenomenon is attributed to several factors, prominent among them being a lack of consistency between education system outputs and the requirements of the Qatari job market.

The Permanent Population Committee has made several recommendations to correct this anomaly.

One of the proposals is to have in place a stable recruitment and employment policy whose focus should be on restricting the hiring of foreign workers.

Besides, policies concerning nationalisation of jobs, economic empowerment of women, minimum wages for nationals, their training and education are also required.

The accent of the job nationalization policy is on employing more and more citizens and training them to improve their work skills so that they are able to gradually replace expatriates, particularly in private sector jobs.

As for economic empowerment of women, a major challenge the country faces is changing the negative attitude of society towards women's work and certain jobs being viewed as taboo for local females.

A beginning can be made by introducing a part-time work culture among local women and opening up of day-care centers for the children of female workers.

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