Dubai Expo success to spark competition for talent
Dubai, November 17, 2013
A successful Dubai Expo 2020 bid could spark a competition for talent between the UAE and Qatar, according to the region’s top recruitment experts.
Major infrastructure projects in the two countries have dramatically increased competition for talent, according to experts at London Business School’s Middle East Management Forum.
Speaking at the recent forum, recruiters said there would be increased demand for top talent at senior leadership level across a range of sectors, including industrial, building and construction and technology. 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 of Odgers Berndtson Middle East, is of the opinion that while some senior level changes in Doha have slowed decision-making temporarily, the 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 the UAE wins the Expo bid,” said Houghton. “At this point, the UAE has a significant advantage over Qatar in terms of its existing infrastructure.”
Andy Flourou, principal, Edward W Kelley & Partners, believes there is an increasing need for candidates to demonstrate cultural awareness and other ‘soft’ skills that are increasingly appearing on clients’ checklists.
“Clients in the region are looking for far more than just competent talent,” he explains. “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.”
While the UAE and Qatar continue to experience an influx of expatriate talent, with the so-called ‘brain drain’ settling into the European psyche, Iran is also predicted to present huge opportunities for regional recruiters.
“We are carefully considering Iran, which we believe offers significant opportunity,” added Houghton. “It is first-mover advantage. Many of Iran’s educated middle classes are studying overseas at the moment – from a headhunting perspective there is a real opportunity to re-attract that talent back into the region.
“The talent retention aspect of hiring, however, is more of a challenge. The impact of nationalisation on retaining, motivating and managing talent is tangible.”
The forum was part of a series of thought-leadership forums held at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) where the London Business School has its base. - TradeArabia News Service