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advice on job and life in Qatar

advice on job and life in Qatar

Old Jul 13th 2023, 7:47 am
  #1  
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Default advice on job and life in Qatar

Like most people who post here, I am talking to a company in Qatar. Hence would like to seek more information during negotiation and also have a better view of factors to consider before making the decision. Would appreciate your advice and input.

1. How much is the salary range for expat at mid-career (about 10-20 years experience) professional job level? I understand there is a salary range for each job grade at Qatar state owned company. And it seems they may give you within the range which is tight to the job grade.

2. For job at Qatar state owned firms, is the job grade negotiable? If not, what are the key areas to negotiate i.e. base pay, other benefits? For standalone expat package, they offer allowance such as accommodation, transport, ticket etc all of which are standardised and set. However, those allowance numbers, which look good, are not negotiable and will not go up with your time with the firm, and when you move back to UK, UK firms will less likely look at those 'expat allowance' which may constitute a large proportion of income over there. Hence I would think of the base pay which is the key drive.

3. Nationality - I heard other people say that jobs there may give better pay/allowance to certain nationalities such as UK/US. Is this the case or more like common practice without written on the paper, for big firms? If people have multiple passports, is it advisable to present the more 'favourable' passport? I am not raising critiques and am just asking the advise and for a better understanding of the local practice.

4. Cost and saving - as seen on other posts, the cost in Qatar is also quite high. Normally, how much is the range of accommodation, transport, on a average level for moderate life style? Not living in a posh area of villa or in shared dormitory. Just moderate standard. and how much percentage of saving is recommended after expense as good benchmark to move to Qatar? As the main reason to take up job in Qatar is the pay and tax, and ultimately, there should be enough savings generated by the time we leave Qatar.

5. working culture - It is said that the working culture here is very much closed to relation and you need to join and mingle with people are work place, more like work and life are mixed rather clear boundary in UK/EU where people are more on their own after work without integrating too much about personal life etc. Is it the case and common practice?

6. Job progress - I come across the new term Qatarization at this job. It is more like a policy here especially at state owned firms. After some search, it seems local may move quickly in the job while expats would stay longer. Is it the case that expats are more likely to stay at the level of position by the time they join for a long time and career progress is rare in the same firm?

7. Job security - I read other posts where people warn job security is not as good as assumed at state owned firms. And people just get laid off easily even with indefinite contract. Is it the case? Especially with recession is likely to come to the western countries.

8. Hot weather - This is also a key factor. How long does the extremely hot weather i.e. 40+ degrees , last throughout the year? How do people cope with the heat throughout the year? And also sand storm?

The above are just some questions. Please feel free to share your opinions and experience. And you are more than welcome to share your views on work and life in Qatar! No necessarily tight to the above questions. Your input is appreciated! Many thanks!
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Old Jul 15th 2023, 3:43 pm
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Default Re: advice on job and life in Qatar

one more question - Is unmarried couple accepted and eligible for visa over there? or people need to get married first to get work visa? I travelled to some other muslim countries that unmarried couples are not accepted in many hotels/accommodations. How do unmarried couple handle this?
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Old Jul 18th 2023, 3:56 pm
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Default Re: advice on job and life in Qatar

See my responses after 6 years in Qatar, I left on 2020 though.
Originally Posted by sorento
Like most people who post here, I am talking to a company in Qatar. Hence would like to seek more information during negotiation and also have a better view of factors to consider before making the decision. Would appreciate your advice and input.

1. How much is the salary range for expat at mid-career (about 10-20 years experience) professional job level? I understand there is a salary range for each job grade at Qatar state owned company. And it seems they may give you within the range which is tight to the job grade.
I would say anything between 35K-70K (all inclusive) depending on job, position and passport. Extra benefits such as schools may apply.

2. For job at Qatar state owned firms, is the job grade negotiable? If not, what are the key areas to negotiate i.e. base pay, other benefits? For standalone expat package, they offer allowance such as accommodation, transport, ticket etc all of which are standardised and set. However, those allowance numbers, which look good, are not negotiable and will not go up with your time with the firm, and when you move back to UK, UK firms will less likely look at those 'expat allowance' which may constitute a large proportion of income over there. Hence I would think of the base pay which is the key drive.

3. Nationality - I heard other people say that jobs there may give better pay/allowance to certain nationalities such as UK/US. Is this the case or more like common practice without written on the paper, for big firms? If people have multiple passports, is it advisable to present the more 'favourable' passport? I am not raising critiques and am just asking the advise and for a better understanding of the local practice.

100%. US/UK first, then other Europeans, Canadians, then others. Dual citizenship can help if you use the 'heavy' passport.

4. Cost and saving - as seen on other posts, the cost in Qatar is also quite high. Normally, how much is the range of accommodation, transport, on a average level for moderate life style? Not living in a posh area of villa or in shared dormitory. Just moderate standard. and how much percentage of saving is recommended after expense as good benchmark to move to Qatar? As the main reason to take up job in Qatar is the pay and tax, and ultimately, there should be enough savings generated by the time we leave Qatar.

Depending on the accommodation size and type, ownership of cars, traveling around. You might end up with no savings at all.

5. working culture - It is said that the working culture here is very much closed to relation and you need to join and mingle with people are work place, more like work and life are mixed rather clear boundary in UK/EU where people are more on their own after work without integrating too much about personal life etc. Is it the case and common practice?

My experience was similar to Europe. Total segregation of work and personal life.

6. Job progress - I come across the new term Qatarization at this job. It is more like a policy here especially at state owned firms. After some search, it seems local may move quickly in the job while expats would stay longer. Is it the case that expats are more likely to stay at the level of position by the time they join for a long time and career progress is rare in the same firm?

Well, there is no guarantee whatsoever that you will be offered a promotion, let alone be promoted...

7. Job security - I read other posts where people warn job security is not as good as assumed at state owned firms. And people just get laid off easily even with indefinite contract. Is it the case? Especially with recession is likely to come to the western countries.

True, there is no job security. Either in state owned or private jobs.

8. Hot weather - This is also a key factor. How long does the extremely hot weather i.e. 40+ degrees , last throughout the year? How do people cope with the heat throughout the year? And also sand storm?

Hot weather lasts from end of March to end of October. March and October could go either ways. You learn to cope after some time. At some point, you forget about it. Sandstorms were never an issue in Qatar. There is not much sand there.

The above are just some questions. Please feel free to share your opinions and experience. And you are more than welcome to share your views on work and life in Qatar! No necessarily tight to the above questions. Your input is appreciated! Many thanks!

I had six great years with my family in Doha. I would never regret going there. And I left with no savings but with many memories!
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Old Jul 20th 2023, 11:23 am
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Default Re: advice on job and life in Qatar

Thanks very much for your detailed advice! Appreciated! Very helpful for me to know more on the ground information. Yes, as you mentioned, it seems the most common motivation of moving to ME is about saving ( expat pay, allowance, zero tax etc.) and life style. and many people have very positive comment on experience there albeit not all of them achieve saving goal. And it seems quite a few who have spent a good amount of years in ME tend to stay longer and semi-settle down for even a longer time. My question is, after working in ME for a good amount of time, what is the 'exit' path, how do people 'relocate' back to UK/EU/US? I have seen quite a few cases as one way from west to ME and moving between firms in ME but not the other way round from ME back to the west. How do the expat cope with resettling back to the west from ME? Appreciate if people to share the views/experince. Many thanks!
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Old Jul 20th 2023, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: advice on job and life in Qatar

The summary is, after working for a long time in the ME you will be a dead horse unless you have an exit plan in advance. This is why many people who take jobs in the ME either on-leave from their jobs in EU/USA or are retired so they have nothing to lose when the kicked/leave ME. The job security is 0
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Old Jul 24th 2023, 8:45 am
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Default Re: advice on job and life in Qatar

Originally Posted by w_scott
The summary is, after working for a long time in the ME you will be a dead horse unless you have an exit plan in advance. This is why many people who take jobs in the ME either on-leave from their jobs in EU/USA or are retired so they have nothing to lose when the kicked/leave ME. The job security is 0
Thanks for the insights! Very helpful! Based on such, it looks like the nature of the expat jobs in ME (with overseas allowance/benefits/etc.) appears a posh version of contractor job? If the assumption is true, I can find they share quite a lot in common:
1. people get paid a premium (with overseas allowance, kids education, tax free, benefits are huge top-ups for ME expat jobs) ,
2. flexible or no job security, far less or no protection vs. the permanent/local staff,
3. no career prospect and staying in the same role for long without progress/promotion,
4. difficult to move back to permanent role/mainstream work after contracting/ME expat role for a period of time ( although it varies depending on the sector and experience. pay wise -- not many are happy for a pay cut. skill wise - market perception, recruitment requirement etc.
5. a very good choice if people are close to their retirement/after retirement or people are already off work/want more flexibility/change etc.

The above are just initial findings/thoughts. Nothing good or bad and no intention to undermine contractor as I have met quite a lot of experienced contractors who are far more capable than the perm staff and they choose to stay in contracting for various reasons. Each one has his/her own decision that best works for him/her.

As a newbie, I am just exploring and learning this type of role and environment before making a good decision. Happy for more discussion!
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