Hiring at the top picks up as firms get ready for upturn

Companies want bosses who can help grow the business now

The tide seems to have turned for senior executives in the job market in the UAE as companies in the country recover from the worst global economic recession in its history.

According to leading recruitment firms in the country, HR managers of a number of major companies in the UAE are in the job market scouting for talent to occupy the highest levels in their organisations.

“We’ve seen a tangible increase in the number of senior mandates that we have been asked to work on. Several banks have approached us to help them find senior executives at CFO, COO level and the layer below it,” Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Pathway Resourcing told Emirates 24|7.

"The environment is changing [in the UAE job market], and companies are gearing up to hire managers who can grow the business rather than ones who can merely control costs, which was the case last year," said another executive at a placement firm not wishing to be named.

"Many companies have taken on board several top level executives in recent months. Big banks are getting a new layer to people on top to ensure growth in the new enviornment," the executive added.

Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase International confirmed this. “It is indeed true,” she said when asked about the increase in hiring levels at senior levels.

Having faced the worst economic crisis last year, corporate boards in the Gulf region saw an increase in CEO turnover beginning in the last quarter of 2008. Some, then, believed that conditions were not attractive as companies undertook massive cost cutting exercise.

HR companies then saw reasons like friction with the board, unfulfilled promises and increase in competition coming from other geographies for senior departures. However, as the situation improves, many companies are looking out for senior personnel to run businesses.

Headhunters believe the region is still quite competitive when it comes to retaining talent and many senior executives still prefer the Gulf to most parts of the world.

Moreover, as the world comes out of recession, many international companies are looking at emerging markets for future growth, which includes Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA), besides the giants of India and China. This will help create more jobs in the UAE.

Within the African and Middle Eastern market, Dubai is well placed to cater to the region, so many senior personnel are expected to be based in the city, say experts.


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