The number of expats working in Doha has increased rapidly in recent years. As the city’s population has almost tripled over the last few years, the number of foreign employees is rising as well.
Many expats working in Doha find an occupation in fields related to the gas and petroleum sector, as this remains Qatar’s main source of income. Most of Qatar’s biggest companies have their headquarters in the capital.
However, more and more people are working in Doha’s real-estate sector and in construction. Qatar’s successful bid for the FIFA World Cup 2022 will result in further developments in the local infrastructure, creating additional jobs for many people. New stadiums will be constructed and the public transportation system needs to be further developed.
Even without these new economic developments, Qatar’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the entire world. The government makes attempts to diversify its economy and thus create more jobs in different sectors (other than the petrochemical industry) for those working in Doha.
Although women officially enjoy the support of the Qatari government, those who work in a male-dominated environment may face some less blatant forms of sexism and gender-related discrimination. Female employees are often expected to dress modestly, and cover their shoulders, legs and hair while working in Doha.
In some companies, women don’t work side by side with their male colleagues. They are separated into different offices, much like university students are separated into different classrooms, staying in touch through email or over the phone.
As an expat woman in Doha, it will be useful to know about such unwritten rules. For expat women, it is probably the easiest to find work in Qatar from abroad. In this way, you will not only have a job lined up when you move abroad, but you will be able to avoid the hassle of dealing with the Qatar Labor Department.
Women who enter the country on a spousal visa and find work while they are there, will have to visit the nearest office of Labor Department to register as a working woman. They also need their husband’s permission before they can start working in Doha.
Otherwise, women enjoy the same protection under Qatar’s labor law as men. Much of the latest developments in the field of women’s rights are due to the commitment of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Misnad. She founded the “Qatar Investment Corporation for Ladies” and other institutions which help women to become actively involved in all aspects of Qatari life.
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