QATARISATION: BE­YOND THE NUM­BERS

Or­gan­i­sa­tions must fo­cus on fill­ing the pipe­line to en­sure in­di­vid­u­als are ad­e­quately ex­pe­ri­enced and trained to progress up the ca­reer lad­der.

Qatar Today - - INSIDE THIS ISSUE - BY KR­ISHNA PAN­CHAL Kr­ishna Pan­chal is a con­sul­tant with Hay Group Mid­dle East. He works closely with lead­ing lo­cal and multi­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions in Qatar.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions must fo­cus on fill­ing the pipe­line to en­sure in­di­vid­u­als are ad­e­quately ex­pe­ri­enced and trained to progress up the ca­reer lad­der.

As one of the world's fastest grow­ing economies, Qatar presents re­mark­able op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness. Recog­nis­ing this, or­gan­i­sa­tions in the coun­try have laid im­pres­sive plans to cap­i­talise on these op­por­tu­ni­ties. A key fo­cus for many is the in­creased na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of their work­force.

Much has been writ­ten about na­tion­al­i­sa­tion trends and the strate­gies be­ing used to at­tract and re­tain Qatari tal­ent. How­ever be­fore plan­ning where to go, we must first un­der­stand where we are and to do that, it's im­por­tant to look at the num­bers.

Our an­nual re­search – which in 2013 in­cluded over 160 or­gan­i­sa­tions and 91,000 in­di­vid­u­als – shows that Qatari na­tion­als form 12.6% of the na­tion's to­tal non-govern­ment work­force, con­cen­trated within four key sec­tors: pub­lic and not-for-profit (33%), fi­nan­cial ser­vices (29%), com­mu­ni­ca­tions (29%), and oil and gas (23%). Be­sides a con­cen­tra­tion within in­dus­tries, we also see a skewed ra­tio of Qatari rep­re­sen­ta­tion within or­gan­i­sa­tional hi­er­ar­chies with higher lev­els of na­tion­al­i­sa­tion at more se­nior lev­els. Tellingly, po­si­tions de­scribed as ‘Man­age­ment' show strong lev­els of Qatari rep­re­sen­ta­tion in ex­cess of 45% whereas other more tech­ni­cal roles such as ‘Prod­uct Devel­op­ment' have close to zero.

In com­par­i­son to other coun­tries in the re­gion, Qatari em­ploy­ees tend to reach these lev­els at a much younger age. This is partly due to the strength of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem which con­tin­ues to pro­duce highly qual­i­fied grad­u­ates, many of whom are fast tracked into man­age­rial po­si­tions. How­ever, de­spite the fo­cused ef­forts to fur­ther strengthen the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, progress is not keep­ing pace with de­mand from the busi­ness com­mu­nity and grad­u­ates re­main highly sought-af­ter.

As seen in the ta­ble above, this trend has be­come some­what more pro­nounced since 2009.

The trend to­ward in­creased Qatarisation within the se­nior lev­els, and con­cur­rent tail­ing off within the mid­dle lev­els, raises

the ques­tion of where fu­ture lead­ers will come from. With only 13% of the su­per­vi­sory po­si­tions filled by na­tional tal­ent, or­gan­i­sa­tions must fo­cus on fill­ing the pipe­line to en­sure in­di­vid­u­als are ad­e­quately ex­pe­ri­enced and trained to progress up the ca­reer lad­der.

Sim­i­lar to strong man­age­rial ex­per­tise, tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise is also vi­tal to sus­tain­able busi­ness growth and it is im­por­tant that na­tion­als have the op­por­tu­nity to opt for ad­vance­ment into such spe­cialised roles, as is seen in the oil and gas sec­tor. Em­ploy­ers have a piv­otal role in en­sur­ing these ca­reer paths are known amongst grad­u­ates and new re­cruits to at­tract their curiosity and com­mit­ment.

Women power

Strength of note in terms of na­tion­al­i­sa­tion is the ra­tio of Qatari fe­males to Qatari males in the work­force (42:58). Sig­nif­i­cantly more bal­anced than other GCC and in­deed many in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, this ra­tio in­di­cates that Qatar is suc­cess­fully draw­ing on fe­male po­ten­tial in the mar­ket and work­ing to­ward the Na­tional Vi­sion 2030 in terms of bol­ster­ing women's role in so­ci­ety and em­pow­er­ing them to be ac­tive com­mu­nity mem­bers.

Our re­search al­lows us a bird's eye view of the progress of na­tion­al­i­sa­tion pro­grammes. How­ever, to re­ally zoom in on their ap­pli­ca­tion, we spoke to se­lected clients from a cross-sec­tion of in­dus­tries who are in the process of im­ple­ment­ing their own na­tion­al­i­sa­tion strate­gies. They re­port a shift to­ward ca­reer achieve­ment pri­or­i­ties and a marked im­prove­ment in ed­u­ca­tion and knowl­edge stan­dards amongst Qataris; key build­ing blocks for a strong na­tional work­force and demon­stra­tive of the im­pres­sive strength of the Qatari ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

The chal­lenge how­ever lies in the fact that sup­ply of na­tional tal­ent re­mains lower than de­mand and that there is a ten­dency amongst Qataris to be es­pe­cially in­flu­enced by em­ployer brand­ing. As a re­sult the hi­er­ar­chy im­bal­ance con­tin­ues to grow and the risk of de­vel­op­ing a trans­ac­tional ap­proach to ca­reer ad­vance­ment – where in­di­vid­u­als

Com­pa­nies re­port a shift to­ward ca­reer achieve­ment pri­or­i­ties and a marked im­prove­ment in ed­u­ca­tion and knowl­edge stan­dards amongst Qataris; key build­ing blocks for a strong na­tional work­force and demon­stra­tive of the im­pres­sive strength of the Qatari ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

job-hop at the ex­pense of their over­all devel­op­ment – in­creases. Mean­while smaller or­gan­i­sa­tions, as well as those from tra­di­tion­ally less pres­ti­gious in­dus­tries, strug­gle to at­tract and re­tain tal­ent.

Look­ing for­ward, par­tic­u­larly in an­tic­i­pa­tion of World Cup 2022, there is a fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing sec­tors in­clud­ing health­care, re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity, ed­u­ca­tion, and lo­gis­tics and trans­port. With am­bi­tious plans en­dorsed by the govern­ment through the Na­tional Vi­sion, Qataris have a piv­otal role to play in shap­ing these na­tion­ally im­por­tant sec­tors over the years to come.

How­ever with­out the re­sources to com­pete on salary with sec­tors such as bank­ing or oil and gas, what are or­gan­i­sa­tions in these sec­tors do­ing to at­tract and re­tain na­tional em­ploy­ees?

Re­mu­ner­a­tion is im­por­tant, but in­tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits also have a key role to play and can at times be seen to out­weigh salary as a deter­mi­nant of em­ployee sat­is­fac­tion.

In many ar­eas, na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of Qatar's work­force is pro­gress­ing well with or­gan­i­sa­tions ben­e­fit­ing from the highly ed­u­cated pool of na­tional tal­ent. How­ever there are chal­lenges to be faced, es­pe­cially by smaller or­gan­i­sa­tions and those from out­side the key sec­tors of pub­lic ser­vice, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, oil and gas, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. If em­ploy­ers act now to de­velop a strong em­ployee value propo­si­tion, these chal­lenges are by no means in­sur­mount­able

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