Qatar struggling to recruit, retain skilled experts

PwC report says the capacity crunch will make it difficult for projects to be delivered on time

Qatar is struggling to recruit and retain skilled experts who can help deliver on its many planned infrastructure projects over the next several years, according to a new report by international consulting and accounting firm PwC, it was reported.

In the second edition of the Building Beyond Ambition: Middle East Capital Projects & Infrastructure Survey for June 2014, PwC said the ensuing “capacity crunch,” which is also being experienced in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, would make it difficult for projects to be delivered on time unless radical changes were made to management styles.

PwC said a survey of 130 of the region’s most prominent project owners, developers, contractors advisors, and financiers found while three quarters of business leaders said they expected spending to increase in the coming year as Qatar prepared to host the 2022 World Cup and the UAE looked towards Dubai Expo in 2020, there was “acute” capacity constraints facing the region’s mega-projects, Doha News reported.

More than half (54 percent) of business owners and 43 percent of contractors said this was their top challenge for the coming year.

The report said to avoid a talent vacuum, businesses should focus on trying to retaining their experts by giving them chances to develop and progress in their roles.

Meanwhile, Saudi Shoura Council member Saad Al Bazei reportedly said skilled and unskilled expatriate workers would be needed for many years because of the major development projects underway in the kingdom.

“These massive developmental projects need manpower not available locally. So the country has to rely on foreign workers,” said Al Bazei, a former professor at King Saud University.

These foreign workers include western architects and engineers as consultants and those needed for blue-collar jobs, he said.

At present, Saudi Arabia has a population of 29.5 million, of which nine million are expatriates.

Most of the semi-skilled and unskilled workers would come from the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

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Posted by: AlexTT

According to the Specialist Recruit 8% fee is the cure, how stupid of us all.
According to the Expats comments here, salary increase is the answer, guess what, no matter how much you pay a donkey, it ain't going to win the Grand National I can tell that much.

"most prominent project owners":Right, are these owners the ones that own building material companies and Restaurants and they have become Experts in development!!!!
"contractors advisors" ????? really?, and financiers (IFAs??)don't start me on this lot.
Bottom line is, it is all the client's (private or goverment) fault, as long as they choose not to pay what someone has to offer they'll get what they are paying for.
We would love to use our best staff for our local work in the region but the client's budgets doesn't allow it, so our best staff works on Cruise ship fit outs and hotels (3*-5*)across the world instead of UAE&Qatar.
It is pure math, suits the clients suits us, the rest "if you don't like it.

Posted by: Just Sayin'

My husband was interviewed for upper management position with the government for which he was offered the job. I can say that even for upper management positions, the pay was not attractive, especially given the cost of housing. He was told "that's what they pay". I'm sure once the pressure increases for completion of the projects for the upcoming events in 2022 and 2022, there will be an attitude shift. It may very well be back to the pay scales in the time before the crisis in 2008, when housing and school fees were also covered.

In the end the ironic thing is that my husband has since started his own company and may very well be able to contract work in Qatar anyways.

Posted by: Matt Williams

I often travel to Qatar and the arrogance and rudeness starts at the airport with their passport control people. A smile and a good morning from me is met at best with silence, mostly a nasty look and a gruff "where you staying", the driving from locals is beyond aggressive and extremely dangerous, all with the attitude of get out of my way I'm Qatari. Worst payers per head in the world yet the most wealthiest, I have countless colleagues who have done work and have not been paid.

People don't want to work in Qatar as they don't like being treated like a piece of meat and not paid...Why be somewhere like that???? It's big world and plenty of amazing places WITH labour laws.....

Posted by: Ali

Its the same in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Two of the places i have been, and i assume its the same in the rest of the Arab world

Posted by: William

yep, penny wise pound fool, is exactly what we constantly face in the GCC. Big companies employing their select few expats in the top tier whom can seemingly do no wrong, while everyone else is offered crumbs and 'career experience'. with no chance to move up, no training and a punitive culture of blame...what you end up with is high churn of the best chasing better salaries, with the the average 'rest' filling mediocre positions with a bad work ethic. All the while, executive furnish themselves with less and less work for more and more compensation..... as for Qatar, good luck. No chance on earth anybody would seriously consider working there given their track record of poor treatment of employees.

Posted by: Bez

Just like in Abu Dhabi - no pay rise in 5 years, no chance for career progression, so a high churn rate of the best people, and only the deadwood stays to pick up the pay check. Leads to morale problems and a drop-off in performance over time.

Posted by: Paul

Its plague all over GCC countries.
The top tiers are not known to be the most sharp, experiencied and qualified and their handicaps cascade down to all levels. Thus the general bad services provided in the GCC countries.

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