With its recently passed labor regulations, having a minimum wage in Qatar is now a legal reality and expats should do their homework and know their rights when it comes to working there.
An expat hub for people from across the world, Qatar is a veritable melting pot of cultures. In fact, Qatar employs the vast majority of its workers from abroad, in areas ranging from teaching to IT, and finance to gardening. Unsurprisingly, average salaries in Qatar are just as variable. In this helpful guide, we walk you through the factors that affect your salary, as well as minimum wage laws and options for reporting labor abuses.
The guide includes the following sections:
- The minimum wage in Qatar
- What to do if you’re not being paid the minimum wage
- Average salaries in Qatar
- The gender pay gap in Qatar
- Salaries and wages for expats in Qatar
- What to do if your salary is too low in Qatar
The minimum wage in Qatar
In 2017, the government passed a temporary minimum wage law stating that employers must pay their workers at least QAR 750 and provide accommodation, food, and healthcare. In addition, no new contracts will be approved unless they first meet these basic needs. That said, it is unclear when or what permanent minimum wage will be announced in Qatar.
The government also announced the elimination of exit visas for some workers; under which workers couldn’t leave the country without employer permission. However, this excluded domestic workers and up to 5% of a company’s staff. But even with the new law, some workers still face labor rights abuses in Qatar.
What to do if you’re not being paid the minimum wage in Qatar
The Qatari government encourages workers with complaints about their employers, wages, and other challenges to lodge a complaint with the Labor Relations Department of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, and Social Affairs. The required form can be found on the government’s Hukoomi website and, after completing it, you should receive an SMS from the Labor Relations Department acknowledging receipt and explaining the next steps.
Average salaries in Qatar
Qatar hosts expats from all over the world, working in every field; from construction to surgery to driving to air traffic control. As such, it is impossible to speak of an average salary throughout the peninsula.
Generally, the average Qatari household, comprising around 8 or 9 people, earns QAR 72,700 per month. This is nearly three times what the average (Western) expat household, of 4 or 5 people, earned at QAR 24,400 monthly. For low-income expats, the story is murkier because there are few statistics on what workers in low-skilled sectors earn. The median monthly salary is QAR 13,000 per month, which means that half of the population earns below that amount, while the other half earns more.
Average salaries in Qatar by sector
In Qatar, your salary will depend vastly on your background, your skills, your passport, and how tough a negotiator you are. Here are some average monthly salaries by sector:
- Engineering: QAR 18,812
- Customer Service/Call Center: QAR 11,405
- Food/Hospitality: QAR 7,323
- Marketing: QAR 17,693
- Quality Control/Compliance: QAT 14,764
Average salaries in Qatar by job level
Salaries range widely based on education, experience, nationality, and the negotiated package. In general, though, here are some average monthly salaries by job level.
- Events Manager: QAR 18,377 – 29,130
- Banking Branch Manager: QAR 29,468 – 47,867
- Construction Project Manager: QAR 750 – 56,839
- Healthcare General Practitioner: QAR 33, 972 – 98,966
- CEO, Multinational Company: QAR 121,322 – 156,635
Salary checker in Qatar
For information about specific positions and job levels, check out Glassdoor.
The gender pay gap in Qatar
On an international level, Qatar remains a gender unequal country. In 2017, the country scored 117th out of 122 in the Gender Progress Index, putting it behind all of its Gulf neighbors. The index took a holistic measure of gender equality, including education, health, and labor sectors. Although Qatar remains committed to achieving gender parity, progress is slow.
Salaries and wages for expats in Qatar
About 95% of Qatar’s labor force, more than 2 million people, are expats; many of whom are low-income expats from places like Nepal, the Philippines, and India. Until 2017, Qatar had no official minimum wage. With the impending World Cup in 2022, however, the country has been under increased scrutiny for its labor laws and practices.
Qatar has long practiced the kafala (sponsorship) system, which gives employers overwhelming control over employees; including confiscating identification documents, control over issuing exit visas, working hours, changing jobs, and payment terms. For years, human rights groups have brought attention to the situation facing migrant workers in Qatar.
The sad dichotomy in Qatar is that while low-income expats from Pakistan can be living off of QAR 750 a month, high-income expats from Australia can be making up to QAR 87,000 monthly. Generally, Western expats – the minority of expats in Qatar – are usually offered very attractive compensation packages, including relocation, accommodation, and child education benefits. The issue of minimum wage in Qatar, therefore, isn’t a major concern for high-income expats. Instead, Western expats tend to focus on negotiating the most competitive benefits package possible.
What to do if your salary is below the minimum wage in Qatar
Unfortunately, it is difficult to renegotiate your salary once you have signed a contract with your employer. Your best bet is to make sure that your compensation package is ideal before you sign a contract. If, however, your company is not paying you your full salary or if their payments are delayed, you should lodge a complaint with the government. Keep in mind, however, that a complaint may anger your employer and they may fire you – so know your rights and have some money saved up just in case.