Job searching in Qatar challenged by discrimination

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Despite the revolutionary development in Qatar and the diversity of nationalities there, the fact that there is a bias toward a certain nationality or stereotype cannot be overlooked, especially when this bias conflicts with job and internship opportunities.

Summer break is near, and applications for internships are flooding into huge companies all around the state of Qatar, such as Qatar Petroleum, RasGas, and many more. It is hard not to question how equally each application will be treated and how many exceptions and overlooks will be taken on certain applicants.
It is natural to be attracted toward people with the same nationality, religion, or a certain social stereotype. This bias is ruining the reputation of many well-known companies, which reflects their unacceptable level of unprofessionalism. This issue should be a matter of concern to both students (of all nationalities) and companies who are missing out on a lot of neglected, skillful candidates.

Where does this bias in attitude come from? Since the majority of people in Qatar are expatriates and residents of the country, a policy was put forward to assure future jobs for Qatari youth: “Qatarization.” It is a concept, very well known nowadays, that builds up both a threat and an opportunity for people of different nationalities in Qatar. The certain number of job opportunities in each firm or company reserved for Qataris encourages the companies to lay out a corresponding number of internship opportunities as well. The strategy was feared for the reactions of residents in Qatar and undereducated Qataris as well, but explains an idea toward a better future within the hands of the nation itself.

Questions here are raised: Is this concept of tending to a specific nationality actually a “bias in disguise” under the name of a new future policy? Or is it a plan to assure a future for Qataris who were threatened by being the minority in their own country?

The official Qatarization website states in its mission statement: “The development of the Qatari workforce, through proper education and training, is now a primary national objective designed to enhance the development of the country.”

The workplace, the educational institute, or any other institution must give both the Qatari and international student the same opportunity and experience. But the fact that social factors are put into the equation of success in the fields of work or study is destined and inevitable. It is no myth that people take advantage and “use” their names, their titles, or their nationalities to bring themselves forward to win an exception or simply to be noticed. To what extent should this subjective attitude be considered unjust or offensive? Isn’t equality what we look for in a developed country such as Qatar? Or is the country simply assuring the future of its nation?

The injustice is debatable when it comes to non-Qataris who are working or students who have the internship slot in hand, but it has never been or will be that Qatar would “kick out” someone off their status to give it to another with a more appealing nationality. It is only a matter of concern toward those qualifications that might be misplaced or offended. Of course, it is also unquestionable that Qatar’s market will always need professionals from other nationalities to fill the fields of work that Qatar’s work force is lacking. Yet, students who are on the hunt for internship opportunities will find it difficult to do so if they have a subjective attitude at every path they turn to.