- Special Pages
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: The booming economies of Asia are heralding a change in the job sector in Qatar and the Gulf, with employers here facing difficulties in hiring qualified hands from these countries due to the high salaries and increasing job opportunities there.
As a solution, employers are now looking for people from European countries that are facing high rates of unemployment due to economic recession.
A senior official from the hospitality industry in Qatar said the industry was gradually replacing Asian workers with Europeans due to the difficulty in getting qualified hands from the traditionally human resource-rich Asian countries. Big hotels and tourist facilities are now exploring new sources of manpower, such as Spain, Greece and Portugal, said Hoss Vetry, Cluster General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Doha and Sharq Village and Spa.
Speaking of the challenges facing the industry, Vetry said: “As source country economies, from where we used to recruit people, such as Indonesia, India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, are growing fast, it is becoming a little bit harder to bring quality people. So we are exploring new sources in European countries. And I just delivered an orientation lecture to 20 students hired from European schools.”
“Countries such as Indonesia and India have been witnessing tremendous growth over the past several years. These two Asian countries are among the fastest growing economies in the region. So people are getting good salaries and other benefits in their home countries and are reluctant to take overseas jobs,” he added.
The Gulf region is attractive for the Europeans because they are able to save more thanks to tax-free incomes in the GCC countries. “It is not only about money, the experience of dealing with Arabian and Asian guests is an added advantage for them,” said Vetry.
Due to difficulty in getting skilled workers from countries like India, many employers and manpower agencies often end up recruiting unskilled or semi-skilled workers from some other Asian countries.
“There is a shortage of Indian visas here, and if at all we have the visa, it is not easy to find qualified people because they are demanding very high salaries. The reason is that they are already getting good salaries back home. So we are forced to bring semi-qualified workers from other Asian countries like Nepal,” said a senior official in a manpower agency.
He said all sectors, including construction, were hit by the manpower shortage. The rapid economic growth in some Asian countries is also attracting skilled and semi-skilled workers from neighbouring Asian countries. “Many Asians now prefer such destinations due to their proximity and because they find them more culturally friendly,” said another recruiting agent.