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Recruitment trends in Dubai

Recruitment trends in Dubai

There is a backlash against fair weather employees who arrive when the going is good and leave as soon as it gets rough, says Russell Adam, managing partner of CTPartners Middle East.

January 24, 2011 2:51 by

Dubai’s executive recruitment market has picked up noticeably in recent months. The quickening pace of activity reflects the economic rebound in the emirate and the Gulf Cooperation Council region more broadly. But it is also reveals new trends in executive recruitment such as increasing further the number of local professionals in key roles, a preference for expatriate hires who show firm commitment to the region, and appointing people with special relationships who can open doors for their employers.

This last trend has clearly emerged in Dubai only recently and is an almost wholly new segment of the executive recruitment market. In many ways, however, it is a logical response to the experience of the last couple of years which saw the onset of the financial crisis and the consequent impact on investment, growth and confidence after a long period of rapid expansion.

Now, confidence is returning, encouraged by the opening of the Burj Khalifa Tower, the Dubai World $25 billion debt restructuring, and statistics indicating that output and orders in the emirate are rising. Economic growth is recovering to levels which compare favourably with Europe and the United States. But some tough lessons have been learned, prominent among them being that understanding of local business conditions and commanding trust will be increasingly important for success in Dubai.

This is all the more true because the onus now is on running organisations more competitively. Many local businesses are repairing their balance sheets and freeing up cash flows to make acquisitions or otherwise expand at what many see as the turning point in the cycle. It will no longer be enough to appoint individuals, however well qualified and professional they may be, if they simply take the place of others.  The challenge for executive searchers and their clients is to find the people who really fit into and understand the new environment in Dubai and the region.

The point holds for all top appointments and for all types of organisation.  Classic mandates such as finding chief executives, chief financial officers, chief operating officers and legal and compliance officers have increased as 2010 has worn on.  This is consistent with global trends: according to the Association of Executive Search Consultants, the number of new executive searches started in the second quarter of 2010 was up 38 percent over the same period of 2009.

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