I never actually planned to write a whole post on job hunting in Qatar. I did, however, receive plenty of questions related to this subject. So, instead of replying to each message separately, I decided to do a bit of work-related FAQ on my blog.
“So, what’s your story?”
You can read about it all HERE. In short: I landed in Qatar in 2012 and started looking for a job soon after. I was hopeful but at the same time I knew it might not be an easy task. In the end, what work possibilities are there in the Middle East for someone holding a Master’s Degree in Polish Law? I spammed all possible websites with my CV and applied to countless companies. I haven’t heard back from most of them, some called me back after many months (!). I reached a point where I became extremely discouraged and wanted to give up.
So how did I land a job in the end?
It was my employer who found me via one of the job hunting websites. As it turns out, some employers before they post a job opening online, actually visit the job hunting websites and go through profiles of people who might fit their needs. So one day I got a call from a company where I did not apply, offering me a job that I did not know about. 🙂
“Is it better to actually come to Qatar or to look for jobs online?”
If it’s not too big of a hassle for you, I’d say: do both! Recruitment in Qatar usually takes an incredibly long time, so it’s best to start applying long before visiting. This way there’s a chance for you to schedule a face-to-face interview later on. These days, most of the big companies only accept job applications if you submit them through their websites. However, smaller establishments will usually welcome walk-ins. Print your CV and head to their HR Department.
PRO TIP: do not, I repeat DO NOT barge in and start stalking random employees asking them to take your CV. That makes you look extremely unprofessional and your resume will most probably land in a garbage bin. Due to being a head of a department, I was on the “receiving end” of such CVs many times. And believe me, I would never consider hiring someone who walks into my office, without an appointment or any formal introduction (and sometimes even without knocking!), trying to politely pressure me to accept their resume.
“When is it best to apply for a job in Qatar?”
Qatar’s job market is a very specific one. If you thought about applying for a job during the summer months, think again. Between mid-June and end of August, a huge number of expats leave Qatar (school holidays are on and the unbearable heat chases people out) and hiring is often put on hold. Similarly, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, everything goes slow. If you apply during those times, be prepared for a long wait to get an answer. Unless, of course, it’s an “emergency hiring” and the company needs to fill a position urgently.
“What are the best ways to look for a job online, if I’m not able to come to Qatar?”
First of all, update your CV. Most websites will require you to upload it. Make it look professional, it is the first thing your potential employer will look at. Having said that, below is a list of platforms/websites which I personally found the most useful in job hunting:
— LinkedIn (make sure your profile is complete and looks professional!)
— Monstergulf.com (this is actually how my employer found my resume)
— Local Facebooks groups
“Is a university degree really necessary?”
Obviously, that would depend on where do you want to work. 🙂 As far as most of the well-paid jobs are concerned, it is a must. Remember that your degree needs to be translated and attested. And don’t even think about faking it! A colleague of mine got sacked and deported because he provided our employer with a forged university diploma (yes, they DO check it!).
“What’s the deal with this ‘sponsorship system’?”
Pretty simple: if you want to work in Qatar, in most cases your employer will be the “sponsor” of your visa. What does it mean? In general, it means that your employer takes responsibility for you. You’re not able to work for anyone else and, as a rule, changing jobs would require you to obtain a Non-Objection Certificate from your current employer (it can also be obtained from the government itself if the employer refuses to provide it even though you meet all criteria to receive it). It also means that your employer is allowed to put your name on the list of employees who require special permission to leave Qatar (exit permit).
You can find everything in detail HERE – it’s the most trusted source covering the current legal situation of migrant employees in Qatar.
“Can I still find a job in Qatar if I don’t speak Arabic?”
Yes! Although knowledge of the Arabic language is an undeniable advantage, for most jobs good knowledge of English is more than enough. When I first arrived in Qatar I was surprised by the fact that, outside the government establishments, English seemed to be the first language. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense though. After all, Qatar is home for migrant workers from all over the world, who actually outnumber the citizens.
“Is it more difficult to find a job in Qatar if you’re a woman?”
Again, depends on the job. 🙂 From my own experience, I’d say it’s actually easier. Qatar is a country with very peculiar demographics: only about 25% of the entire population is female. Because of this, in certain sectors, female workers are in really high demand and there is much less competition for female-specific jobs.
I hope this covers most of the common questions about finding a job in Qatar. If you still have any doubts, please feel free to get in touch!