My thoughts on the salary increases for (some) Qataris

Now that the frenzy has ended, I’ve been asked by quite a few people to share my thoughts on the recent salary increases. I’ll start this off by answering some of the most common questions I got.

Mr. Q! You’re rich now! When are you getting that Ferrari?
First of all no I’m not. Second of all, it’s a Porsche -_- On a serious note NOT all Qataris got the salary increase!

 

So who does the salary increase apply to?
It’s not really black and white. It was initially given to government employees. That meant that those in the private sector weren’t part of the salary increase. However since the annoucement, a lot of companies in the private sector have followed suit. 1) It does make them look good to follow an Emiri Decree and 2) Some didn’t really have a choice (mostly the larger private entities).

Ok tell us, how much did Qataris in the government get?
For state civilian employees they got a 60% increase on their basic salary and social allowance
For Military  personnel it’s a 50% increase on their basic and social allowance
For  Military personnel of an officer rank, they get a 120% increase on their basic and social allowance.

Nice huh? Makes you want to think about joining the army.

No seriously, how much did Qataris REALLY get?
It’s no joke. Don’t believe me? Check out Emiri decision No. 50 of 2011.

So that’s over DOUBLE their salary!
Wrong! It’s 60% of BASIC and SOCIAL. Let’s say your salary is 10k. Your basic is 4k. Your social is 1k. Your remainder salary is made up of housing, transportation, etc… In this case you get 60% of 5k. That’s 3k or a 30% pay increase overall. Of course this is just an example

Anything else you want to mention?
It’s not just salaries. Government employees also get their pensions to go up by 60% and Military by 50% or 120% depending on their rank.

Why did they do this… It doesn’t make sense!
A lot of things don’t make sense in this world, but there’s actually a good reason for all of this!  First of all, lets start from the beginning. Government employees actually had their salaries ‘balanced’ two years ago to comply with their new grading scheme. For some people it was great, for others… it made life really tough. If you were a junior staff at 15k, you could have been dropped to as low as 7k per month. That’s a 50% decrease. Some people’s salaries went up though but only by a small margin. So if you look at the 60% pay increase, they’re probably back to where they were. Of course I’m talking about the people who were affected negatively. To be honest, many people especially in the Military were known to have received extremely low salaries and they definitely did deserve more.

How much is this going to cost the government then?
A cool 10 billion riyals a year (that doesn’t include the extra 10 billion given to the pensions fund and 10 billion to the retirees’ subscriptions.

How do you feel about this Mr. Q?
You want to know? Well I’ve got mixed emotions to be honest.

Now here are my thoughts from a number of different angles…

As a citizen, it’s great to know that the government is there to take care of it’s people. It’s nice to feel that my country care about government officials so much. I do think that it would have been great to have spent 10billion riyals on training government workers so that they could work much more effectively though (just thinking about my own experience with simple processes here). The cost of living has definitely increased significantly in the passed few years. Building a house is near impossible and a decent price anymore.

However as someone who works in the private sector,I’m left thinking, “What about me?”. I studied hard. I went to university to get my degree. I came back and worked in the private sector. I proved that I was a hard worker, dedicated, and was set to prove that Qataris are ready to make a difference in the world. So why aren’t I being rewarded as well? In fact, are we giving the wrong message to the new generation? Come and get a cushy government job. Aren’t we trying to build a knowledge based economy? One that will encourage start ups, Qatari entrepreneurs, and see a growth in SMEs? Why would a youngster create his own businesses now when he can get a great salary working in a government job? Despite all of that, I’m still left thinking “what about me?”.

As someone who cares about the economy, a couple of days after the announcement, shops didn’t waste their time. I received BBM notifications constantly about the different shops that raised their prices. The government had already threatened companies with fines if they raised their prices and also set up a hotline for people to report it, but that didn’t stop many. Car washes raised their prices, restaurants raised their prices, cold stores raised their prices, everybody was doing it! Some people said, “It’s only a couple of riyals”, no it’s not! It all ads up! This my dear friends is what causes INFLATION. Many Qataris started to complain about this; online forums, BBM, and the newspapers published article after article of examples in price rises. Well if the people who got the pay rise are complaining, what about the Qataris or the exapts that didn’t get the pay rise?

What I don’t understand is why didn’t the just give government employees a pay rise quietly? Alright it might have been difficult to contain that one, but what about Kuwait’s solution? They got rid of Kuwaiti’s debts (up to a certain amount). I’m pretty sure that would have helped out more, and would have been fairer on all of us.

From the point of view of a private business owner, there are LOADS of problems here; Qatarization was hard enough! Now companies have to compete with the government too! I don’t really want to think about this one…. Let’s start with listed companies, they have a duty and a responsibility to share-holders. If a private company increases Qataris salaries, that dips into the shareholders pockets. It would be fair to say that it would be in the companies best interest NOT to hire Qataris to reduce cost (that can’t happen though since Qatarization is not an option). I’ll give you a really simple example. You own a business that sells Land Cruisers (had to slip that one in. Heh.). Everything’s going well, but now you have to cut into your own profits to increase your employees salaries. They’re not really doing any more work than they signed up for. Inflation is only up by 10% but you have to give them 60% increase. Now the funny thing is, you understand where I’m going with here, but I’ll bet you still want to be that person with the 60% pay increase. Am I right? Don’t worry, it’s human nature.

Point of view of the expat, “That’s not fair, what about us? We work harder than Qataris! We deserve more too!”, the people scream on one particular forum that shall not be named. You know what I say to them? Don’t like it? Tough! I’m sorry but it really gets my blood boiling. I feel like Qatar is the only country in the world where some expats (Most of the ones I personally know are awesome btw!) discriminate against the locals! They come to Qatar, live quite a comfortable life, more comfortable than back where they live, their governments probably tax the hell out of them, and then they complain that they deserve more. Think about this logically, wherever you are from and imagine that a foreigner comes to your country and feels entitled to more; not the same (I believe in equality), but more than the locals…

I’m sorry but shouldn’t you be demanding more from your own country? Looks to me that we’re in a new age where the new saying is “Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you.” and not the other way around.

 

So what should those who got the pay rise do now? Splurge? Obviously not. The best thing would be for them to invest their new income in something that will give them a safe future. I don’t know put it in a savings account, invest in stocks, start your own little business, SOMETHING, that doesn’t encourage un-necessary inflation please!

 

I’ll end this quick piece with with what one of my favourite users on ILQ said (TimeBandit), and I think it sums it all up nicely.

“Hey I don’t pay tax, so I don’t care what the government does with its money. I just want a job, on commission, working for a car dealership ASAP.”

 

You might also be interested in:

Qatars are all rich – the myth

I envy Bahrainis

  • iGuest

    I am totally with the fact that Qataris deserve more, actually even more than what they get now, all of their education even if they were going to private schools should be paid for, every Qatari should be entitled to a house. why, because QatarIsSoRich. On the other hand look at the Scandinavian countries, I know Qatar is a long way from being compared with Finland or Sweden, but in those countries citizens and expats have the same rights, they are entitled to the same education, health care, housing, etc. I dont know if you are familiar with the Khwatar program that airs during Ramadan on MBC, but this year they went to Finland and they were comparing how the citizens and “UNEMPLOYED IMMIGRANTS” lived, you would be surprised that even those who were not just expats but also unemployed, they were getting help from the government and they were living a very decent life. Of course those who had jobs lived a better life, nonetheless these people lived a respectable life better than some of the paid workers live in Qatar. Ya, Qatar is not doing charity here, but neither are the Scandinavian countries, but look at the satisfaction that those people have living in those countries. Sure if people don’t like it here they can go back to their country, but when Qatar can be more hospitable to these people and provide them with a decent living standard, why not do that? the loyalty that these people will have to Qatar will be amazing. Now the question of citizenship might be raised, and I am against that, why? simple, Qataris will disappear, the Qatari race will be so small that they will be insignificant. Back to the salaries, I don’t know how they do it, but in Finland a carpenter makes $70K a year, drives a BMW OWNS a comfortable villa. why can’t that happen in Qatar? why can’t Qataris work as carpenters and make $100k a year? I am not saying that Qataris should be doing everything that the Scandinavians are doing, and whatever works there doesn’t necessarily work here, but those people are no better than Qataris, we are both humans so we should be able to work just like them and get as much as they get or even maybe more. The gov has to support us but we should also be able to work independently and earn respectable money by ourselves.  

  • Andrew

    I find the salary increase quite perplexing.  It seems to punish more than it rewards.  It punishes those few Qataris who are working in the private sector (and to be in the private sector, you have to work).  It even punishes those Qataris in the public sector who worked hard to get a promotion, and then they see that the lazy guys content to turn up at work with no ambition and no commitment are given the same increase as those who arguably deserve it more.
    If the government wants to drop a cool 10bn in the economy, that’s their decision.  But perhaps they could have used that money to CREATE new jobs for those who are unemployed?  Or used that money to help those not in the workforce – the aged, widows, single mothers, orphans etc?
    Perhaps though the real intention was to get disgruntled expats to leave?  Now Sankar the IT technician working in the government sector will be earning a fraction of that of the secretary who sits up the hall. That’s hardly going to motivate him to work very hard, when the clear message from management was that expats do nothing to deserve a salary increment. 
    It also means that all the expats (and nationals) in the Q companies who ordinarily would have been given an annual bonus will this year receive nothing, since the companies will not have met their performance indicators, what with a huge blow out in salary costs but no increase in productivity. 
    I guess all I am trying to say is that there are more thoughtful ways to inject such a huge sum of money into the economy.  But, on the upside, I am so very glad it wasn’t done by forgiving loans as happens so often in other Gulf countries.

  • mumbaiflower plaza

    I
    liked this content/ article. I would certainly recommend the same to others as
    well.visit:mumbaiflowerplaza dot com(send gifts and flowers to Mumbai).
     

  • Marieta

    if i am a son of qatari my parents employed in government,with bussiness in gove=..well i will just sit down  or drive my expensive car,fashioning round doha…why do i have to work and stress myself working..think?

  • amnesia

    Why? Because God gaves us a brain, a heart, and two legs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maraganda Mara Moral

    can you please help me? im always facing a dead end in my research. how many % in salary increase was there, if ever….for labor in the year 2007, for non qataris? was it mandatory by law?

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.