Qatar has been a bit of a hot topic recently with several major events placing it centre stage in the world’s media. For the most part, the press has been good and an increasing number of people are starting to take notice of this tiny Middle Eastern state, mostly in the employment sector.
I am constantly being asked about salaries in Qatar and, although they differ from job to job, salaries in this region are good and I think it’s safe to say that they are the main selling point for accepting a job out here. Although they have decreased in recent years, many people believe they might begin to rise again due to a new-found interest in Qatar.
I always stress to those considering a move here that you must make sure everything is completely and clearly stated in your employment contract. Almost every news story I see or article I read about Qatar emphasizes the fact that it is one of the richest countries in the world, but this does not apply to everyone. Yes, there is no tax, but there is also no pension or social security system. Healthcare is not free, you must purchase a (very reasonably priced) Hamad card to be entitled to highly subsidized services. Most reputable employers (mine included) provide insurance packages that cover many, but not all procedures. Yet, despite having insurance and the healthcare system being very good, I personally prefer to take care of all doctor/dentist appointments when I visit the UK.
Much has also been said about the free education system in Qatar…but no one seems to mention that it is only free if you are Qatari. With rare exception, everyone else must pay costly tuition fees for their child’s education and oftentimes there are waiting lists involved for preferred schools.
Employment packages usually come with several allowances such as housing, car, phone, education and moving/relocation but again, it is very good to double check this. Sometimes these allowances are given in one lump sum or are allocated monthly on a percentage basis. Again, it is very wise to make sure this is all spelled out before committing or signing any contract. While these allowances seem generous, you must also take into account the cost of living in Qatar which certainly was higher than what I was used to. Rents are expensive, food is more expensive, and anything that is a familiar western brand will most certainly be more expensive.
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from thinking about a move to Qatar but it is absolutely essential that you do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you’re signing up for.