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Landing the right job in Qatar

As in other Gulf States, the majority of western expats in Qatar congregate around a few industries: petrochemicals, banking and financial services, law, health care, education, and technology.

As an ongoing ambition, Qatar is keen to reduce its reliance on expatriate workers, at least in the professional skills area. It also recognises that, given the extreme fluctuations in price, it cannot indefinitely rely on the income from its oil reserves to sustain its ambitious development plans.

Recruitment

Recruitment in the Middle East can be a very informal process but it is all about connections. Qataris, like other Gulf nationals, are all about doing business with those they like and trust, and introductions are highly valued (and valuable).

Once you’re employed, word of mouth helps many people into their next job. While promoting and employing Qataris above foreigners is recognised as an ongoing goal for the government, there is still significant scope for expatriate employment. An expatriate may be preferred for a variety of reasons, sometimes because Qataris are not competing for certain industry roles. Expatriates will notice that it is not considered discriminatory to outline the gender, age, and nationality an employer wants for a particular vacancy.

From outside the country, the usual route to employment is through online applications or via an agency. You may be asked to do a phone or Skype interview with the recruitment company in Qatar or meet an adviser visiting or based in your home country. The process can involve a trip out to meet key stakeholders and a series of meetings with connected parties over a few days. The process is likely to take weeks or months if interrupted by Ramadan or summer.

If you like the idea of moving to Qatar to live and work for a while, another way of doing this is by intra-company transfer. Getting the right kind of job in the right industry may afford you the kind of opportunities you are looking for. Many expats in Qatar are on company secondments or postings and they enjoy all the benefits this brings, including health care cover, accommodation, and a welcoming community.

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