Global financial conditions are making Dubai more attractive as place of work


Hudson, a leading provider of recruitment and talent management solutions and contract professionals worldwide, recently opened its first office in Dubai.

Even though the company is just a month old, its officials are very upbeat about the GCC market and believe this is the place to be for any professional. The Middle East is an important region to Hudson as it contributes $500 million (Dh1,836m) to its global revenues.

With such a firm footing, the company plans to expand its operations in the region by setting up full-time offices in different countries in the GCC, said Phil Clarke, Hudson's Chief Operating Officer, UK and Ireland, in an interview with Emirates Business.

Can you tell us about your company and its presence in Dubai?

Hudson is a Nasdaq-listed company and we are a leading provider of permanent recruitment, contract professionals and talent management solutions worldwide. From single placements to total outsourced solutions, my company helps clients achieve greater organisational performance by assessing, recruiting, developing and engaging the best and brightest people for their businesses.

The company is five years old and our global revenues are $1.7 billion. The Middle East is an important region to us as it contributes $500 million to the overall figure. Today, we have more than 3,600 professionals serving clients and candidates in more than 20 countries. We opened our office in Dubai on April 6. In three years' time we plan to be in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and North Africa.

Who are your biggest clients in the UAE?

We have a licence from DIFC so we are very much looking at companies within that zone. To name a few, we have Nokia, Siemens, Barclay's Capital and Standard Chartered – mostly blue-chip companies. We look forward to working for companies in Media City and Knowledge Village.

What about big family businesses here?

Our licence is for free zones and it is mostly MNCs operating in DIFC. However, we are open to trade with local family firms if they are in DIFC. As of now, our clients are those that we are dealing with in other parts of the world.

So would you partner with a local entity to increase your customer base in the city?

We made the decision to go for DIFC instead of getting a federal licence. But it is too early to say as we are just one month old here.

Who is your biggest competitor?

Right now the market is very fragmented and there are very few companies in the field with a global footprint. We get the best people as we begin with a well-crafted recruiting strategy to attract individuals with the capacity for success. It also requires the proper assessment and selection methodologies.

You have a Hudson employment index for the workforce in the US. Do you have something similar for the GCC?

Not really. We did our own research before entering the market but there has not been any external research. We are certainly looking at something similar for the region but we need to be here for sometime to come up with such an index. In the US we have a very large client base and an extensive database.

Do you think Dubai is a lucrative place for people to come and work?

It's a very attractive place and due to global financial conditions it is becoming even more attractive. The place has not seen taxation and economic pressures as in other places. Increasingly, a lot of people are travelling for work. Our entire Dubai team is from London and they had no problem coming here. It's pretty safe, the market is attractive, the economy is strong and people are welcoming and friendly.

Do you see the region facing a talent crunch as inflation beats all records?

I do agree with you on this point. Cost of living is going up but it's mainly affecting people who are coming from Asia and Australasia. For those coming from the UK it's becoming comparable. Dubai is a very cosmopolitan place and people have more reasons to come here than just financials. But inflation has to be kept in control.

PROFILE: Phil Clarke, Chief Operating Officer, Hudson

Clarke began his recruitment career in 1995 with Triage Consulting, an independent technology staffing business. After working in a number of recruiting and sales management positions he joined the board of Triage as director in 1999.

Clarke joined Hudson in 2002 and was asked to develop a niché telecoms division focusing on supplying highly skilled, management, technical and engineering candidates within the fixed and wireless communications market.