Businesses in Qatar are readying themselves for a strong and competitive start to the New Year
Mercer's 2010 total remuneration survey for Qatar shows more than two-thirds of companies are planning to hire more people in 2011.
And importantly, according to Bassam Gazal who heads Mercer's survey practice across the Gulf, the period of reducing staff appears to be at an end.
"While a third of those surveyed said their headcount numbers would not change for the coming year, not one firm we spoke to was planning to cut numbers. This is a big shift in mood and in planning and we expect this optimism to deepen as the New Year comes around," he said.
"Also, this survey closed before the news of Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid, which is likely to only add to this momentum."
Every company surveyed reported that 2010 salaries had risen in some or all areas. And the prospect of a 2011 salary increase across Qatar is also looking firm, with the average increase forecast to be around 6.7%, up from the 5.4% for 2010, and no firm reporting they were considering a freeze.
The Qatar survey project manager, Ms Oxana Nagy, noted that there is a strong shift in Qatar – and elsewhere in the region – around the payment of variable bonuses to employees based not just on individual performance but on corporate performance as well.
Ms Nagy said the trend was stronger the higher up the management level, and executives in particular had felt the impact of weakened results with bonus payouts for this level reportedly down 36% on the year before.
The survey covered a range of sectors including energy, high-tech and consumer goods and highlighted compensation trends ranging from top executives to the administrative level. Mercer conducts the same survey across more than one hundred countries and covers over 450 benchmark positions.
Housing remains the dominant cash allowance in Qatar. Compared to the previous year firms reported they had increased this allowance by around 15% during 2010.
The survey also disclosed that on average local companies pay 18% higher base salaries across all employee levels, while the average guaranteed cash difference between local and multinational companies is as high as 31%.
"Although the salary increases we are seeing for 2010 and the forecast for 2011 are not as high as the increases prior to the crisis, those increases are higher than inflation, which means that the purchasing power of the individual is increasing," said Mr Gazal.
"This is something we haven't witnessed for quite some time in the region".