On the Job


Qatar holds vast supplies of natural gas reserves and its small native population enjoys the highest GDP per capita income in the world. Over the last two decades, the Qatari […]

Qatar holds vast supplies of natural gas reserves and its small native population enjoys the highest GDP per capita income in the world. Over the last two decades, the Qatari economy has seen a rapid pace of development with a tremendous focus on diversification. With Qatar’s rapid pace of development, developing talent and utilizing the country’s labor market effectively remains a key challenge to the continued success of the economy. Traditionally, white-collar positions across all sectors of the economy have been dominated by foreigners creating a skill gap in the Qatari national labor force. In recognition of this, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, the “Qatarization“ plan has been rolled out as part of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

The challenges represented in the current Qatari labor force are glaring; today, Qataris constitute only 8% of private sector employment in comparison to 58% in public administration and services. Similarly, the state remains the largest employer in the country. In recognition of this, the QNV2030 has highlighted human development as one of the key pillars of the vision calling for a highly educated population and motivated workforce. The QNV2030 has called for a world-class educational system that equips citizens to achieve their aspirations and meet the needs of Qatar’s society. Moreover, and critical to the success of the Qatarization initiative, is the importance of creating a capable and motivated workforce that will attract the interest of the Qatari nationals.

For the first time in the history of the industry, all the principal players are mobilized in a massive industry-wide undertaking to meet the challenges of the Qatarization initiative. The target is to have key companies have 50% of their workforce be Qatari nationals. The Qatarization is aimed at strategic and sensitive positions within these companies, and perhaps more importantly, the Qatari workers in this position should be equal to or more qualified than that of their competing foreign counterpart.

As such, almost all key industry stakeholders have developed a Qatarization department, specializing in the success of the strategy. For example, Qatar Foundation, the country’s premier education developer, has a five-pronged approach. First, Qatar Foundation has developed a specialized recruitment department that ensures applications from all candidates who have the appropriate potential are received by the hiring department, thereby guaranteeing a steady flow of incoming candidates. Second, Qatar Foundation has implemented a succession planning strategy that will identify and develop internal candidates who have the potential to fill key leadership positions in the company. All employees will have a career development plan, which lists short-and long-term goals relating to their current and future employment. Third, Qatar Foundation is also committed to training and developing Qataris through a variety of in-house, external, and e-learning training program. Fourth, Qatar Foundation will also be offering a sponsorship program that focuses on the country’s long-term employment needs. Fifth, Qatar Foundation will develop post trainees, including non-graduate and graduate trainees along with developing internship programs for those Qatari nationals that are over 18 and are pursuing studies at one of the Qatar Foundation branch campuses.

In sum, one of the key challenges to the continued success of Qatar’s economic development is employing its domestic labor force effectively. The government has recognized that developing the skillsets of Qatari nationals is of tantamount importance to accomplishing this goal. Similarly, not only is the focus on employing Qatari nationals, but also making sure that the domestic labor force is at the same level of its foreign counterparts. In so doing, many industry stakeholders like Qatar Foundation are taking the lead in developing Qatarization departments that will undertake this initiative and ensure its success.

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