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3-05-2012 - The Peninsula

Pvt firms do little to hire citizens: SDC

A key state agency that trains citizens to take up mainly private jobs yesterday blasted the private sector for its reluctance to employ Qatari nationals and said businesses must provide flexible working hours in order to woo locals.

"Qataris avoid joining private companies due to long working hours and other constraints, so businesses should have better working conditions that locals take up employment with them," said Dina Al Kaabi, social researcher at Social Development Center (SDC).

More than 40 percent of companies (a hint at the private sector!) do not comply with job nationalisation rules, she said, citing SDC-sponsored studies.

"We must put in place a regulatory body to oversee the strategies employed by companies to prioritise Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and include it as one of the prime elements in their operational plans, as outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030, recommends SDC.

Al Kaabi, Senior Social Researcher, Social Services and Studies Department at SDC, who led the research, told reporters that "banks and insurance firms are the only ones who have achieved the set target of Qatarisation with 20 percent Qatari employees followed by the services sector, industries and real estate companies. The commercial sector has got the lowest percentage of Qatari employees."

"It is time for the Ministry of Labour and other concerned authorities to set some stringent guidelines or put in place a regulatory body to achieve the objective of Qatarisation," said Al Kaabi, on the sidelines of a workshop held at the Qatar National Convention Centre to discuss the study yesterday.

"The process of Qatarisation is not new. It started way back in 1970s. Many efforts have been taken by the government so far, but the study reveals that there are many challenges in this regard that needs to be addressed," said Dr Khalid Mohamed Al Horr, Assistant Professor at the College of Business and Economics.

Citing views similar to that of Al Kaabi, Dr Khalid added: "It is time to put in place some mechanism to monitor organisations in order to observe how their plans, programmes, and training opportunities include corporate social responsibility (CSR) as key ingredients."

The workshop was held to discuss the topic "CSR and its role in the implementation of Qatarisation", under the guidance of Dr Mohamed Abdel Moneim Shalaby, which was attended by several senior officials from various companies.

Commenting on the results of the research, Amal Al Mannai, Executive Director, SDC, said: "SDC is proud and keen to support research on various social issues. We see this study as a step in the right direction, for it will play a major role in promoting CSR, as well as indicating Qatar's progress in this regard so far."

The study also pointed out that a deeper understanding of CSR must be created amongst the general public to differentiate it from charity - which is what CSR is often perceived as.

In her work, Al Kaabi recommends that companies issue regular reports on their CSR contributions and performance to the media and general public.


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