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Companies in Qatar appear to be among the most optimistic about their prospects in 2015 than firms in any other Gulf country. Despite the fall in global oil prices, which has forced many companies in the energy sector to lay off staff or instigate recruitment freezes, Qatar businesses are collectively continuing to expand, saying they plan to hire more staff while raising salaries in an effort to complete the country’s many construction projects on time. According to the latest edition of the annual “Employment and Salary Trends in the Gulf” report by online recruitment site GulfTalent, two-thirds (66 percent) of employers surveyed in Qatar said they planned to increase their head count in 2015. This is the highest rate in the region, and some way ahead of Saudi Arabia, where just over half (53 percent) of employers said they plan to hire. The comparable figures for other Gulf states were 49 percent in Oman, 47 percent in the UAE and 38 percent in both Kuwait and Bahrain. According to GulfTalent, the hiring boom in Qatar was spurred after “the uncertainty over the World Cup (was) finally removed and major infrastructure projects (got) the go-ahead.” Last year, the report said Qatar witnessed a slowdown in recruitment due to negative international media coverage of the country’s 2022 World Cup preparations and “internal pending reviews on the awarding of the projects.” During 2014, Qatar’s employment growth rate appeared to be among the region’s lowest, with just 38 percent of recruiters in the state saying they were hiring. Only Bahrain was lower, at 22 percent, while nearly three-quarters of Saudi employers (72 percent) said they planned to bring in new talent that year.