Sheikh Mohammad bin Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani (centre) and Yousef M Al Jaida of Qatar Financial Centre (left) with Sara Abdullah of QBA at the release of the Qatar Business Optimism Index. Salim Matramkot
DOHA: Hiring expectations among non-hydrocarbon businesses in Qatar are the highest they have been for three years according to the Dun & Bradstreet Business Optimism Index (BOI) for Qatar in the first quarter of 2014. The index reveals that the construction sector has the most optimistic outlook on employing workers.
Sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC Authority), the survey also reveals that, within the finance, real estate and business services sector, finance and insurance firms are the most upbeat about sales and profits. A substantial majority of finance and insurance firms, 73 percent, expect an increase in sales and profits during this quarter.
The index for the consolidated non-hydrocarbon sector was at 49 points, lower than the score of 53 recorded in Q1 2013 and at its second highest level in three years.
The survey found that 53 percent of respondents in the non-hydrocarbon sector expect to increase their workforce, up from 47 percent in Q4 2013. The index for hiring was 51 compared with 44 in the previous quarter and 47 in Q1 2013. Taking the finance, real estate and business services sector as a whole, the hiring outlook is higher than in the previous quarter and a year ago.
In addition, a majority of respondents (68 percent) in the non-hydrocarbon sector foresee an increase in sales volumes in Q1 2014 on the back of expanding demand in all key sectors, partly stimulated by the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and improving market conditions. This optimism is reflected in investment intentions as well. In the non-hydrocarbon sector, 47 percent of companies intend to invest in business expansion in Q1 2014 compared with 35 percent in the previous quarter. A comparison between large companies and SMEs shows that large companies are more optimistic in Q1 2014 than SMEs about sales volumes, new orders and profitability.
Yousef M Al Jaida, Chief Strategic Development Officer, QFC Authority, said: “Strong demand for labour, as shown by firms’ hiring intentions, is further evidence that Qatar’s economy remains robust. The finance, real estate and business services sector are especially buoyant.”
On behalf of Qatari Businessmen Association, Sheikh Mohammad bin Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, said: “This latest survey demonstrates clearly that Qatar’s private sector is dynamic, investing in our nation’s prosperity to help realise the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Commenting on the findings of the latest survey Prashant Kumar, Associate Director, Dun and Bradstreet South Asia Middle East Ltd, said: “The high BOI scores in Q1 2014 for the non-hydrocarbon sector continue to reflect positive and stable expectations among firms in Qatar. A growing population coupled with rising infrastructure investment is key factors contributing to demand expansion in most key economic sectors.”