The 7 Wonders of working in Qatar

hamlet
By hamlet

Though by next month I’ll complete five years in Doha (isa), I still didn’t unlock the secrets behind the 7 wonders of working in Qatar……

Wonder No. 1, “It is all about geography”
Regardless of your education, qualifications, experience…etc, the biggest determinate of your salary and professional status will be the place you came from, if you are from an Anglo speaking western country you guarantee a place at the top of the corporate ladder with all its benefits, while if you are from some where in Asia or Africa, then the bottom is your place, even if you are doing a much better job.

Wonder No. 2, “It is all about connections (wasta)”
Got all the right credentials, relevant experience, proper education…etc, but you don’t know the right people, then you are in the wrong place and you better forget about getting that deserved position. The Arabs invented the word “wasta” for that very common practice.

Wonder No. 3, “It is all about gender”
It is as simple as that, if you are a female you will get a fraction of the salary of your male colleague, even if you do the same job, graduated from the same class, spent the same numbers of years working together in the same place and have the same eye color for god’s sake!

Wonder No. 4 “The more you work, the less you get”
People who work in the “best” places such as governmental or semi governmental organizations work the least (by quantitative and qualitative measures) and earn the most, on the other side of the slide the unfortunate ones working in the “worst” private organizations, work very hardly and for endless hours and their earnings will barely make ends meet.

Wonder No. 5 “The more you stay, the less you get”
Yes it is true that as the years go by you are getting more experienced both in your profession and in the local market, but don’t be surprised if that far less experienced new colleague who just arrived to Doha yesterday get double your salary. After all, the sponsorship laws will guarantee that you are stuck in your work forever, while your new colleague have the freedom of choice, at least till he arrives to Qatar.

Wonder No. 6 “Labor law”
No body seems to apply, understand, or even care about the labor law, again the “best” places such as governmental or semi governmental organizations create working conditions that can easily be envied by workers in Western Europe, while on the other side many of the private organizations apply their own custom made slavery laws we thought abolished in the 19th century.

Wonder No. 7, “No body seems to wonder or do anything about all the above wonders!”

By lzxcoco• 15 years 7 months ago.
lzxcoco

i am sorry to hear that you are not the few i knew.

i know some, asia, male and female, making and enjoying the same as their western counterparts, in term of your 6 wonders.

if your are not, just sit down and review what are the corrective measures within your reach. you might make it one day.

By fondador• 15 years 7 months ago.
fondador

good pointers i'll consider and try the 7 wonders since my loan already been release pamyent for five years. but what you've said numbers 1, 2, 4 & 6 are true base on my observation. anyway, we're not on the same boat, i guess.

By suzanna• 15 years 7 months ago.
suzanna

Nice article.

By hamlet• 15 years 7 months ago.
hamlet

farewell and best of luck :)

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 3/5
anonymous

I did work in Africa for 4.5 years, traveling around the Horn of Africa in the worst places and conditions you ever imagine, I did saved every penny I could and it did paid off at the long run. I gain lots of experience and did mature quickly after witnessing real misery and despair. I do appreciate DOHA, the villa life, my own PRIVATE BATHROOM, the stores but is not what I want in life. I just want to relax in my own house of 4595 square feet and live my rest of my life with my only two grandchildren playing in my own pool and yard and live out of my own IRA pension. So I do respect your five years in DOHA, One year for me is enough. I'm going to do the project for Chile and call the quits after that.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery

None but ourselves can free our minds..

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

Wel boys and girls

I got 4 months to go and ADIOS to eveyone, I will heading to South America, Patagonia, Chile for one year, same job , same company and wil be purchasing my second home cash on hand, Except the darn taxes. So god speed to all.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery

None but ourselves can free our minds..

By dweller• 15 years 7 months ago.
dweller

You have hit the nail on the head but I don't necessarily agree with the comments after item 3 with the exception of the last one.

By hamlet• 15 years 7 months ago.
hamlet

The solutions you are suggesting are exactly what I am doing :)))) and I mean exactly, however what I want to stress upon is that I am not trying to say that I am suffering from these problems, I was not complaining !!!!! (I am a male for instance and I get paid 1.5 times my equally trained female colleague, I have "wastas", and I am satisified with my salary)....however such "wonders" do exist, and if that was the case in Europe and America, people would have done something about it, but it seems that the middle east does something to people, even to westernes !!!!!!

By mark666• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
mark666

I feel -

1. Discrimination will exist ANYWHERE. We have all opted to work in Qatar inspite of knowing these WONDERS.

2. What are you here for? What are your priorities? Are you meeting your objectives in Qatar? If the answer is NO, then obviously, you will pack-up and vamoose!

My objective is to save enough moolah to pay off a loan in my home country. Which I am able to meet. I am under constant pressure from these 'WONDERS'. But I am still able to meet my objectives. So I dont COMPARE...Because it will bring negative thoughts to my mind.

3. If your objectives are NOT met, what are the various alternatives to MEET your objectives?

I look for success stories among the so called second-rung expats (asian/african). I see quite a few...I try to emulate their ways...

Other 'smart' alternatives will include developing "vaasta", obtaining a Canadian/UK Passport, working smart or giving out a perception that you are working hard but working for exactly what you get!

What I am trying to say is- we know the problem exists. work out solution...trying to change the attitudes of employers, locals etc is UTOPIAN thinking.

So...

By hamlet• 15 years 7 months ago.
hamlet

Red Pope...did you actually read anything of what I wrote!!!???...to your knowledge I save a lot, and I don't pay any taxes back home...however that doesn't justify it, cause there is simply what is better. I love my life here, but that doesn't make it a Utopia, and just because you were lucky to make it in the high end, and trust me it is pure luck in most of times, it doesn't mean to turn a deff ear to the suffering of others....

By joann_xvi• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 3/5
joann_xvi

I totally agree but then they have this work attitude - "if you don't like it, beat it!" "I can replace you in 1 day"

Some new joinees get more than the old staff, some of my friends say, better to resign and join again, then you'll get the "new,higher rates".

But still God is good, He will keep blessing us even though we are far away from home.

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

If you disagree with all of the above, just resign and go home!

All this bull wonders boils down to personal decisions and choices.

You better do your research first then make the decision that you want.

Who do you choose to work for is your decision only, no one force you to come over here.

Sorry, If your big dreams of money did not came through in your years of work, but Who is to blame?

The economic inflation or your company money pinching attitude? only yourself,

My advise to you:

1- Get your experience and move on.

2- Save your money as much as you can't, unless your life style outlaws you.

3- Tax laws are tax laws, do your duties with your taxes in your country and quit acting like an outlaw.

4- If you feel like a prima-donna in Doha and is not right for you, then take your big tears in to the desert and get out while you can't.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery

None but ourselves can free our minds..

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

Haa This place is definitely rich thats why they conserve their wealth carefully and thats why many low income expats too are wrkng hard to sustain their livelihood as well... .U realized it rite now?

What are like the tax laws particularly the double tax avoidance treaties for nationalities from the UK and Australia? Such stringent measures have to be introduced here as well for western expats... The avenues for pleasure is comparatively higher here for western expats.....

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
anonymous

In my short experience her because we know what we are doing, and treat the job as a........JOB ie we turn up do it well and go home.

We don't spend all day drinking coffee eating dates and doing F.A.

Saying that and with me there is always a BUT....

Very many other people from other countries Work equally as hard..not at my place but, you know in general and they should get paid more particularly as this country is so Fing rich.

Yeah and I need the money for all those concerts...hello in Doha.. I could earn a quater of what I do now and still not spend it all.

Cheers

By navigee• 15 years 7 months ago.
navigee

Based on my personal experience, one big factor also in getting a promotion or a raise here is the country of origin of your manager. I have a colleague who just zoomed up the ladder not because of his performance or contribution to the organization but because he came from the same country as the manager.

It is only through the heart that one can see rightly.What is essential is invisible to the eye. - The Little Prince

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

There u get it dweller... U wont believe how these brits and south africans lead some sort of a lifestyle...Concerts to attend plush lifestyle thats all..

FINALLY MONEY RULES.....

By dweller• 15 years 7 months ago.
dweller

It all boils down to economics. Why pay more than you have to?

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

Filipina maids and other lowly paid asian workers are also subject to heavy racial discrimination...

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

And dweller savings can be done everywhere its quantum depends on ur lifestyle , people in Dubai save nthng in particular the asians....

The westerners are undoubtedly paid heavily and definitely there is a huge amount of racial discrimination.... And the lifestyle of the brits in Dubai and Qatar is plush and absolutely appalling that they find themselves living in trouble despite all the conveniences....

By anonymous• 15 years 7 months ago.
anonymous

I dont understand this sh*** Why is there a difference in the pay scales between a westerner and an asian Makes no difference thngs are attributed to skill set thats all

Its the opinion that is heavily prejudiced in favor of westerners....and white skin in particular...

By dweller• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 5/5
dweller

Put the boot on the other foot.

Why should someone from a less fortunate nation be able to save possibly 50 times more (in purchasing terms) than his American/European counterpart

I have very good asian friends who have purchased blocks of flats and shopping malls in their base country. They could have actually retired very comfortably after 10 years of service in Qatar. More than any of their European/American colleagues could have done

By Gypsy• 15 years 7 months ago.
Gypsy

20 000 QAR a month! I'm not making that and I've been here over a year. I'm making far more money than my friends back home in the same positions. I have no intentions of leaving anytime soon to lose all my money to taxes and bills.

I feel your scorn and I accept it-Jon Stewart

By Withnail• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 3/5
Withnail

i don't think companies do it for the reason you said.

to be sure, some do it because they can get away with it, or are racist, or whatever. i see it here sometimes in Egypt. companies will always operate to make the most profit, and if an American and and an African can do the same job, they'll hire whoever is more desperate and cheaper. if a company is spending more money, there is a reason.

i think it really depends on the level and type of position. i am a manager here in Egypt, and there are lots of people who are trying to get my job when I go. There is one accountant in particular who thinks he is ready simply because he has been here for over 5 years. Every month he gives me some data for my closing, and for over a year I have been telling him I am not happy with what he is presenting (not clear, not easy to follow, not double checked, etc.). He also doesn't like talking to other people in other areas when I ask him to go solve problems, and i usually have to push him. But if you ask him he is ready to be a manager. He works hard, and is a good accountant, but he does not communicate well and he has no desire to improve things around him. Those are key points to being a good manager. If there were no other options available to the company, i would recommend that they spend more and get a foreigner.

to simply say that westerners always get more and they don't deserve it is inaccurate. a company would not spend the money if they could hire someone cheaper from a different place. i agree that good workers from africa and asia are not always given a fair chance, but companies spend a lot of money for westerners because they are looking for certain skills (communication, problem-solving, process improvement skills, etc.)

i feel bad for those who do not get a fair chance, and i am sure there are many, but point 1 in the original post is not accurate.

___________________________________________

"Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day." Withnail & I

By Serendipity• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 2/5
Serendipity

Doesn't necessarily mean I agree with it.

In the UK, such a thing would be considered to be discriminatory and therefore illegal. Not to say it never happens in the UK, it does. But there is much more emphasis on people earning equal pay for equal work - although having said that, that mostly applies to the men, because women still earn a lot less than the men, even though there are equal pay laws.

I can understand why such disparity might seem equitable on the one hand (making sure that employees of whatever nationality 'benefit' in their home country terms to the same amount), but then inequitable on the other, because people might be paid different amounts, which doesn't seem fair.

By Serendipity• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
Serendipity

I can understand the logic behind a little disparity between salaries, because the main attraction for many people working in the ME isn't to settle and assimilate, but for many it is to save up or remit monies home.

In those circumstances, I can understand that an employer might take that kind of thing into account. I mean, if a person earns the equivalent of, say 100 USD per month (I'm using this as a nice round number). After living costs most employees have 10 per cent left over. (Again, I'm inventing numbers, so keeping them nice and round).

If you get an American employee sending home their spare 10 USD a month, you'd probably be lucky to buy a big mac meal. But in some countries, 10USD might be equivalent to a day's pay, or even a week's. So it wouldn't be proportionate.

And the American might feel rightfully aggrieved that s/he had relocated their family halfway across the world, uprooted them, taken them away from their friends and family, and they didn't have any proper savings or benefits to show for their sacrifice.

While... erm, I don't know much about the other economies, but if someone from rural China came over, from an impoverished place where people lived on a dollar a day (and there are still places like that around the world) they might feel fairly rich. Although of course, in other parts of China, there are people who earn and spend way more than someone who is unemployed, with no medical insurance, living in a trailer park.

Anyway, that's my explanation of what's possibly behind some of the disparities, I think the employers take into account how much you might be saving and sending back home, and take into account the economy of your home country, what an equivalent salary would be there.

By wannaspk• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 5/5
wannaspk

hello,

I strongly stand by the Fifth point. as I witness a lot in practice. though all the points hold good and true, fifth is something more serious. So my sugesstion is not to stay in one job/company or for the matter, dont stay in Qatar more than a year untill and uless u are paid more than 20K per month. if not its not worth it, you can very well make the same in your own country.

By genesis• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
genesis

I totally agree. I like to add;

- The more you’re qualified, the less your chance to get a better career or get promoted.

- The common between all government corporation/authorities is that they all suffer of heavy dependency on consulting offices, lack of coordination, weak management & shortage of qualified staff.

- There are plenty of job vacancies at corporation/authorities (i.e.: QP, KAHRAMAA,Qtel). Some have been vacant for more that 2 years. Yet, no one is investigating why those jobs are not fulfilled.

By Withnail• 15 years 7 months ago.
Rating: 4/5
Withnail

i'm canadian and my wife and I are currently working in Egypt. regarding point 1 of your post, i can understand why westerners get higher salaries. i am not saying that every westerner deserves it, but my experience in Egypt has revealed to me that many egyptians like to gossip far too much, can be quite emotional to the point that it affects their work, are not as goal orientated, are generally happy with doing enough as opposed to going for excellence, and in general are not as productive as they could be. i have also found that they all think they do a great job, regardless of how good they are.

of course, i have met some egyptians who do excellent work too, but i would honestly say that the percentage when compared to canada is low. i think your education system is chiefly responsible for this, as is your general laid back way of life. don't get me wrong, i love egyptians as they are the friendliest people i have ever lived with, but i have to call things like i see them.

my wife is from colombia, and when she compares the way english people communicate versus how people communicate in spanish, she says that english speakers tend to be much more efficient (which is great for business, if not for arts and litterature).

point 2 and 3 is the same in every country i've lived in. welcome to the real world (unfortunately).

i can't comment on the other points.

maybe you should look for a new country to work in...

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