Employers in Qatar are addressing many aspects to retain and develop their highly talented workforce, however there are still changes organisations can make to help employees reach their full potential.
Qatar is booming, and the latest predictions by the World Bank indicate no signs of slowing in the near-term. Our latest ‘Hopes and Fears’ survey shows its workforce is well-qualified and largely optimistic about the future.  
We surveyed 52,000 people globally, and the results from 261 respondents in Qatar show that employers here are upbeat, investing in their staff in terms of skills and their physical and mental well-being. However, organisations in Qatar have an opportunity to do even more to improve employee satisfaction and help the country realise its full growth potential.

Young, prosperous and happy
Qatar attracts a young, dynamic workforce. In fact 75% of respondents were millennials, and also highly educated — 55% have a university degree and 22% a masters or doctorate. As a result, an above-average proportion — 85% — hold professional roles, on a par with 88% in the Middle East but higher than the 73% global average. Significantly, the roles are frequently in senior positions: 47% hold chief or senior executive roles, slightly higher than the Middle East on average (41%) and much higher compared to global (25%).
Employees’ professional success is reflected in their contentment, with nearly nine out of 10 respondents being satisfied at work, higher than their Middle Eastern counterparts. Pay quite possibly contributes to this — 64% have enough to save, take holidays and pay for extras, considerably higher than the global and Middle East averages (both 47%).

Well supported
The survey responses also showed that proportionally, employees in Qatar are better supported at work than their global peers. For example, to address staff shortages, 48% said their employers were upskilling employees (40% globally); 43% were doing so by raising pay (33% globally); and 41% said their employer was offering more support for physical and mental well-being (% globally).  
These responses paint a picture of a relatively content and supported workforce. Indeed, employee levels of satisfaction are higher across the board in Qatar. For example, 33% strongly agree they can be themselves at work (27% globally); 34% strongly agree their work contributes to their team’s success (27 % globally); 31% strongly agree their job is fulfilling (25% globally); and 34% said that they can be creative or innovative at work (25% globally).

High levels of trust
In addition, it seems that trust between colleagues and their employers is consistently high across the Middle East and this is also true within Qatar, with the responses outstripping the global average in every category. In particular on matters relating to their health and safety record (68% vs 54% globally), addressing diversity and inclusion (63% vs 49%), impact on the environment (61% vs 46%) and impact on the economy (62% vs 50%).
Employees in Qatar are also marginally more likely to talk to each other about social and contemporary issues (69% vs 65% globally and 68% Middle East average) indicating high levels of trust also exist between colleagues and a greater confidence in expressing themselves. These conversations were cited to help them better understand each other, and make the workplace more inclusive.

Going hybrid
Yet even with all these positives, the respondents made it clear there is still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to more flexible working patterns, opportunities to innovate, and learning digital skills.
Although over half that were surveyed in Qatar stated that they are able to work remotely, 40% of them work full-time in an office while only 31% would prefer to be doing so. The number of full-time in-person office employees in Qatar is significantly higher than the general picture across the Middle East (28%) and the global equivalent (13%).
Qatari employers need to be more responsive to their staff’s preference to work from home at least some of the time, in line with global trends. In fact 61% of employees in Qatar would prefer a hybrid arrangement.
Having a choice over where they work is also one of the most important factors when considering changing jobs: 63% said it was extremely or very important to them, higher than globally (47%). Similarly 80% said the same for being creative or innovative at work (versus 59% globally), while 80% ranked having a team that cared about their well-being as extremely or very important, slightly higher than the rest of the region (Middle East 71%) and globally (60%).

Technology gap
Employees in Qatar are also very aware of how technology skills give workers the edge. Twenty per cent of respondents said their biggest concern when it comes to the impact of technology on their job over the next three years was a lack of opportunities to work with and learn from colleagues with advanced technical or digital skills. In addition, 26% (compared with 19% Middle East and 14% globally) are most concerned about their role being replaced by technology. In a highly innovative and transforming region, this anxiety is perhaps fuelled by the fact that 37% of employees in Qatar are tackling staff shortages by using technology to automate or enhance work, compared to 26% globally.
Amidst the ‘great resignation’, and with 22% of Qatari employees likely to resign within the next year (versus 30% Middle East average and 19% globally), Employers in Qatar need to focus on attracting new talent and retaining high-performing employees. In particular, they need to review and instigate a more flexible working approach, invest greater resources in digital upskilling and continue to progress and encourage the transparent and inclusive working environment for a culturally diverse workforce. In doing so, employers will promote greater satisfaction and retention, close the upskilling gap and nurture a workforce that will allow Qatar to continue to thrive and develop at pace well into the future.
For more information, including the practical next steps to take, please see our Hopes and Fears survey 2022.

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