Qatar skills drought forces massive site salary hikes

Preparation for Asian games and ongoing mega-projects lifts pay for white-collar jobs.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 10, 2005

Skill shortages in Qatar’s booming building sector have forced a massive increase in pay for construction professionals. Starting salaries have jumped by up to 10% since the beginning of the year, with accommodation packages increasing by up to 25%, according to local recruitment agents. The construction industry in Qatar is believed to be growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the region with several mega-projects underway, including the US $2.5 billion Pearl-Qatar project, which is due for completion by late 2006, the same time that the 15th Asian Games will be held in the city. Qatar is investing nearly $3 billion in facilities and infrastructure for the games, and is spending another $5.5 billion on a new International airport for Doha. But recruiting to fill the growing number of vacancies on such projects is proving difficult for many employers who are now being forced to offer more enticing incentives to secure quality staff. “There are shortages right across the board at the moment and it is definitely having an impact on rates. “You could say that salaries have increased by 10% between January and now, while housing allowances have increased by up to 25%,” said Andre Sassine, director of Hill International in Qatar. Dubai-based recruitment consultants sourcing staff for projects in the country are also reporting considerable difficulties in filling vacancies. “Housing has really gone through the roof and has doubled from QR3000-a-month to around QR6000-a-month for an executive style apartment,” said Edward Twaite, Middle East operations director at Beresford Blake Thomas. Quantity surveyors are in particular demand according to Danielle Le Faucheur, international senior consultant with UK-based recruitment firm Hill McGlynn & Associates. She said: “I currently recruit for PQS and project management firms in the Middle East and in the past six months there has been a noticeable increase in the demand for MRICS qualified intermediate level quantity surveyors with five to 10 years experience within the build sector.” She added: “As I’m sure you are aware, Qatar is a location that in comparison to Dubai does not offer the same lifestyle for people between 28-35 and is thus less appealing.”

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