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Qatar and UAE: Battle for talent?


Recruitment experts predict increased demand for top candidates across a range of sectors.

November 14, 2013 3:47 by

Competition for talent between Qatar and the UAE will become even fiercer if Dubai’s World Expo 2020 bid is successful, according to predictions made by recruitment experts in the region.

At London Business School’s recent Middle East Management Forum, experts said that major infrastructure projects in both countries have already dramatically increased competition for talent, emphasising that it would only be heightened if Dubai wins the Expo 2020 bid.

There would be increased demand for top talent at senior leadership level across a range of sectors, including industrial, building and construction and technology expected. In the run up to the Doha FIFA World Cup 2022, experts are predicting fierce competition for top candidates with global experience.

Mark Houghton, managing partner at Odgers Berndtson ME, believes that while some senior level changes in Doha have slowed decision making temporarily, opportunities in Qatar will increase rapidly over the next 12 to 18 months.

“There will be a huge competition for talent between the two countries if Dubai wins the Expo 2020 bid,” says Houghton. “At this point, the UAE has a significant advantage over Qatar in terms of its existing infrastructure.”

Andy Flourou, principal at Edward W Kelley & Partners, says that clients in the region are looking for far more than just competent talent and that there is an increasing need for candidates to demonstrate cultural awareness and other ‘soft’ skills that are in demand.

He adds: “Soft skills are equally important to fulfilling the role, including cultural awareness and how easily candidates settle into a new environment. In return, candidates are seeking more than just an increase in compensation, with job enrichment and development being at the forefront. This places the onus on employers to deliver and fulfil the promises they make.”

Dubai is competing with Ekaterinburg in Russia, Izmir in Turkey and Sao Paulo in Brazil to host the World Expo 2020. The winner will be announced in Paris on November 27. Many countries, including Britain, Canada and France, have emerged as supporters of Dubai’s bid.

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