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Qatar – Foreign workers shun low paying jobs

05 September 2013

Qatar is basking in an employment boom thanks to the pace of infrastructure development; however, recruitment agencies are struggling to supply the demand in certain categories of foreign worker due to the low pay on offer, according to The Peninsula.

Among those most difficult to recruit are semiskilled workers for the booming construction industry. Professionals; such as engineers, finance executives, and CEOs are recruited more easily because pay packages are more lucrative.

An unnamed source from a recruitment agency commented to The Peninsula: “It’s a challenge hiring a carpenter from South or Southeast Asia, for example, since the monthly pay on offer is just QAR 1,500 (USD 411.60) to QAR 2,000 (USD 548.80). We are witnessing a deluge of requests for all kinds of workers professionals included, but it’s a tough call to recruit semiskilled construction hands.”

Agencies recruiting professionals for their clients say that the economic woes and increasing joblessness make recruitment in Europe easier. Professionals from the UK, France, Spain, and Germany are willing to relocate to Qatar for monthly salaries that can go up to QAR 80,000 (USD 21,952) for a finance manager.

A new market for headhunting has emerged in the Ukraine, particularly for middle level jobs; such as account assistants. The unnamed source added: “Here, we can, for instance get a sufficiently experienced accountant for a monthly pay package of up to QAR 20,000 (USD 5,488).”

The biggest recruitment challenge continues to be hiring construction site supervisors and semiskilled construction workers; such as turners, fitters, and carpenters. Traditionally these workers have come from South and Southeast Asia.

The source continued: “But not anymore, as they are able to make that much money in their home countries. They ask us why they should leave their homes and families behind and brave harsh weather conditions here and loneliness.”

Sources in Qatar are calling for the construction industry, in particular, to look carefully at their pay structures for jobs that require semiskilled workers, as they are crucial to the industry. Addressing the salary imbalance may not entirely resolve the recruitment crisis. It was recently reported that the working conditions of construction for the Qatar World Cup are being treated like modern-day slaves. Even if salaries were to rise, there is no guarantee that foreign workers would return.

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