Qatarisation is imperative, but nationals shy away
Tough ministerial talk on boosting the rate of Qatarisation in HR departments should be met with a swift response by Qatar-based firms, according to the recruitment company REED.
Hussein Al Mulla, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour, said in press interviews recently that the post of HR Director in companies that are government-owned or partially-owned by a Qatari national must be given to local citizens.
He also said companies ignoring a directive to set aside 20 per cent of its jobs for nationals will “face the music”.
Staff at REED’s Doha office warned companies against hesitating over the move, stressing that talented Qataris who can fill senior HR positions will be much more expensive to hire in years to come.
REED also urged companies to immediately establish training and recruitment systems within their HR departments in order to secure and develop talented locals from a small demographic pool.
“Human resources is the most essential part of any business and companies have to have talented individuals at the helm,” said Bernard Ward, Country Director. “They are in charge of training and development, payroll, benefits, compensation etc. These functions have to work perfectly for a business to operate smoothly.
“Companies can’t wait for another two to three years to see what will happen. They must act now, getting people on board and investing in training and development. The longer they wait, the more it will cost them to hire talented staff.”
According to the Qatar Statistics Authority, non-Qataris still dominate the country’s private sector workforce due to a combination of private sector ambivalence over hiring locals and Qataris themselves favouring Government posts. A further factor is the limited size of the Qatari employee pool.
Razan Hamad, Human Resources Director at a leading Qatari marketing communications firm, said that despite her organization’s active attempts at recruitment fairs and events all over Qatar, Qatari nationals weren’t displaying adequate interest in working longer hours. “We participate in career fairs at all leading universities around Qatar and actively interview Qataris, however when they hear of our working hours from 8.30am to 6pm, they shy away. We have a new Qatari employee joining us as intern next month and she has requested that her work hours be reduced from 8.5 hours to 5.5 hours. For interns and people with extenuating circumstances, we might be able to accommodate such requests. However, in the case of permanent full-time employees, we cannot grant them this since we have fixed working hours. As part of an organizational code, we expect that all our employees abide by the same working hours, regardless of their background.”