Posted on April 02, 2011

Qatar will develop and implement a comprehensive labour market data system for use by relevant stakeholders, the National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-2016 has revealed.

Though labour market data, information and research are essential for evidence-based decision making and effective labour policy making, Qatar lacks them, the document points out. No single data source consolidates information on the labour market, so stakeholders have difficulty accessing relevant data. For example, the primary source of data on the Qatari and expatriate labour force are held by the Ministry of Labour and that on public sector employees by the Cabinet Office.

These databases need to be linked to better inform labour market policy, and sharing them and information will require improved co-ordination among the many stakeholders in Qatar’s labour market policies. A national labour market information system could build on parallel efforts already taking place in Qatar. The most extensive source of labour market data is the Qatar Statistics Authority’s annual labour force survey. Though it is a rich data source, the survey does not capture certain features of the labour market, such as the participation of Qataris in income-generating activities.

The government aims to develop a labour market information system on a user-friendly electronic platform to aid policy makers. The system will complement other related projects, especially on the proposed Human Resources Master Plan. It will identify the variables needed by different parties, establish a methodology for sharing information, provide guidelines to ensure the privacy of individual data records, and facilitate policy research on factors affecting the labour market.

The NDS intends to strengthen the capacity of key labour market stakeholders and improve co-ordination between them. Governance of the labour market needs to be strengthened and the Ministry of Labour will benefit from increased capacities, including some internal restructuring. Improved co-ordination mechanisms are needed between and within authorities dealing with labour-related sectors. Labour market efficiency needs to rise, through improved capacity, co-ordination, legislation and regulations.

Key aspects are motivating men to stay in the labour force longer by revising the 2009 Law on Human Resources Administration, to ensure that it achieves regulatory efficiencies; improving education outcomes; reforming the pension law; improving the working environment and increasing the capacity for strategic labour market planning.
The NDS points out that Qatari men start to retire from the labour force at around age 40, much earlier than in most other countries. Among the contributing factors are the generous public sector pension system – accessible at reduced levels as early as age 40 – and the availability of highly-rewarding alternative sources of income (from business and property rents, for example).

The government will increase the capacity of the main stakeholders, improving their structure and promoting more efficient organisation through the inter-ministerial body to co-ordinate labour market policies. Ensuring stronger co-ordination requires considering the partnership between government agencies and the private sector. The NDS also lays down the target of increasing Qatari labour force participation rates from 63% to 66% for men and from 36% to 42% for women.

source: Gulf Times