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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



It is also consistent with the longstanding importance in Dubai of recruitment in such areas as education, healthcare, tourism, and infrastructure and logistics. Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of activity in these areas as the economy has started to revive. Dubai is a global hub for trade and financial flows and is very likely to be in the vanguard of the global upturn, a position which the considerable amount of wealth in the region looking for suitable investment targets can be expected to reinforce.

But the nature of search mandates in 2010 suggests that other trends are also coming to the fore.  In the GCC region there is an emerging generation of local professionals who have been well educated either at home or abroad. They are building networks in the same way as their peers in other parts of the world. More than ever before, hiring consists of a mix of locals and expatriates.

Apart from formal qualifications and experience, a major reason for the growing tendency of employers to take on local professionals – even when the employer is a foreign organisation – is that there have been too many examples of cultural mismatches and lack of long-term commitment to building Dubai’s businesses and economy. There is a backlash against fair weather employees who arrive when the going is good and leave as soon as it gets rough. Clients want expatriates to stay, and the signs are that the more recently hired expatriates are people who are in it for the long haul.

The cultural question is also behind the other outstanding trend in executive recruitment in Dubai: the quest for people with special relationships.  This is a significant development. Organisations are increasingly placing mandates to search for well-connected individuals who can advise on new relationships or strengthen existing ones.  Local knowledge and access are vital, but the key ingredient here is trust.

In essence, we are seeing a twin track approach: businesses are trying to improve their competitiveness by hiring locally and internationally for the classic executive positions, while at the same time seeking a new winning edge by taking on expert advisors who can open doors for them.

Russell Adam is managing partner of CTPartners, Middle-East.



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