Expatriate working guide 101: Qatar’s business etiquette and professional norms
Qatar’s population continues to swell every year. But did you know that four-fifths of its residents are expatriates?
Expats account for around 80% of the country’s total population. 63 percent of them moved to Qatar for better career prospects while forty percent moved for higher pay.
Are you among these individuals who plan to move or already moved in the Gulf state? If yes, then take time to learn and master the Gulf’s business etiquette.
Doing so could help you land your dream job or get a promotion at your current workplace. Remember, it’s not just about educational background and work performance. Businesses and employers also have a high regard for professionalism.
Here is a quick look at Qatar’s professional norms and etiquette:
Dressing for work
Despite being a Muslim country, Qatar doesn’t restrict foreign women to wearing the traditional Arab business dress. However, female expats are expected to dress conservatively in respect for Islamic customs.
The same applies to their male counterparts. They should dress in a style that is sensitive to the Islamic cultures.
This means no shorts for men and no mini-skirts or tank tops for women. Men must wear suits during important business meetings and social events. Women, on the other hand, should be in a standard office wear—dresses, trousers or skirts of a modest length.
Some knowledge of the Arabic language is an added bonus for any expatriate. As a country that has unique cultures and customs, Qataris will highly appreciate an expat who knows at least a few Arabic phrases like “shukran” (thank you).
Keep in mind that learning the country’s official language can increase the chances of getting employed or being promoted. It’s like a ticket to success that gives anyone a big advantage over the rest.
Also, before negotiating, it is ideal to find out if the other businessman/woman speaks English. If not, a translator must be hired to negotiate the right deal. It is also a common practice to have the documentations printed in both Arabic and English.
Greetings and handshakes
Verbal and nonverbal greetings are essential in Qatari culture. Qataris are fond of titles, so it is necessary to address them by their respective titles or designations. When addressing them in professional settings, make sure to use their first name.
Take note that during business meetings, everyone in the room must be greeted individually, starting first with the most senior in the room.
Handshaking is also a standard form of greeting in Qatar. When shaking hands, always use your right hand and again—greet the most senior person first. However, there are instances that Qataris don’t feel comfortable in doing such. In cases like this, a hand on the chest works as an alternate greeting.
We hope this info has helped you. If you are an expat who is currently looking for a job, feel free to comment on the article or browse through www.qatarliving.com/jobs or like Qatar Living Jobs' Facebook page at www.facebook.com/QLJobs/.
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