Leading recruiters share their insights at London Business School's Middle East Management Forum
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, November 21 - 2012 at 11:21
- PRESS RELEASE
A new era of executive recruitment is quickly unfolding in the Middle East, according to a panel of industry specialists who shared their insights at London Business School's Middle East Management Forum.
Sharing their local knowledge and experiences were Dr. Nairouz Bader, CEO of Vision Executive Search, Jonathan Holmes, Managing Director of Korn Ferry International, Mark Houghton, Managing Partner of Odgers Berndtson and Metin Mitchell, Managing Director of Metin Mitchell & Co. Peter Felix, President of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), moderated the panel.
The session in Dubai provided in-depth and insightful discussion on the dramatic changes that are being witnessed in executive recruitment across the Middle East and also gave advice on the pros and cons of making a career change.
Some of the outcomes from the panel discussions included:
• The Middle East's dependence on expertise from Western expatriates is no longer required, according to Metin Mitchell, who runs his own executive search and management advisory firm in the region. He also believes expatriates already in the region are too expensive and they are now in direct competition with talent from "distressed markets" such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland who will come and work for less.
• The Middle East is still an attractive place for international talent, but there is growing competition from emerging markets, including China, India, Brazil, countries in eastern Europe and Latin America.
• The main markets for recruitment growth in the region are Saudi Arabia and Qatar (particularly in infrastructure for both countries), with Lebanon also providing a growing level of opportunity.
• Nationalisation is becoming more of a focus in the GCC countries, with a significant movement in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeing nationals looking to negotiate 40-50% on their present packages.
• Companies are now looking for Arabic speakers first, as they provide much greater integration and a broader network, according to the panellists.
• Multinational corporations are not recruiting at the levels they were before the global economic downturn. They have large entrenched workforces around the world where they move people from A to B.
• Despite the considerable economic and political uncertainty in many parts of the world, the executive search industry has held up surprisingly well. At the end of this year, it is expected the industry will be at its third highest level ever for worldwide revenues, according to the panellists.
A key discussion area of the panel session focused on the fast changing needs of the workforce in the region and the developments being seen in recruiting expatriate talent.
"With the exception of certain key talented CEOs, I am of the firm belief that across all sectors now the age of the Western expatriate in the Middle East is over," said Metin Mitchell, Managing Director of Metin Mitchell & Co.
"Western expatriates are no longer required. They don't provide any particular value that can't be found in other nationalities either locally or from other parts of the world. Western expatriates now need to be thinking about taking their careers elsewhere such as Sub-Saharan Africa where there is demand and where there are job opportunities. We now need to think about this region differently - it's growing up and it's mature," Metin added.
Mark Houghton, Managing Partner of Odgers Berndtson, says his company, however, continues to place many Western expats from the region.
"We are certainly seeing more coming from distressed markets who are showing more flexibility in packages but regionally located expat candidates continue to offer great value and knowledge to clients," Mr. Houghton said.
Jonathan Holmes, Managing Director of Korn Ferry International, also believes the Middle East continues to grow at levels far exceeding the vast majority of the world.
"This spawns tremendous opportunity for talent," said Mr. Holmes. "Regional conglomerates are focusing on recruiting and retaining high quality, world-class professionals from all over the globe, irrespective of ethnicity."
Dr. Nairouz Bader, CEO of Vision Executive Search added that in the Middle East, specifically the life science, oil and gas, the chemical and the retail sectors are growing significantly. "Functions such as market access, sales and marketing as well as very technical positions are being urgently requested. As other emerging markets have evolved, talent has become more scarce. The Middle East is in competition with talent with the rest of the world - it is not only competing with its own anymore, it is competing on a global level."
Students from London Business School were present at the panel discussion which was also part of providing access to leading recruiters from global companies looking to hire graduates from the School. There were also company presentations from Bloomberg, Eli Lilly, Booz and Company and Delta Partners.
"It was an honor for the AESC to participate in the London Business School's Middle East Management Forum to discuss and share trends in executive recruitment in the Middle East," said Peter Felix, President of AESC. It was an incredibly engaging and insightful event for all."
Sean Wheeler, Partner, Dubai Energy Team with Booz & Company, added: "Booz & Company is proud to be closely associated with London Business School. We have a longstanding relationship, with many of our team having studied at the School. We were very pleased to take part in the Middle East Management Forum, and found the discussion and questions relevant and challenging."
A selection of some companies that were represented at the event included:
Association of Executive Search Consultants, Al Futtaim Group, Al Ghurair Investments, Alcatel Lucent, Amico Group, Bain & Company, Bayt, Beiersdorf, Binani Cement, Bloomberg, Booz & Company, DHR International, DNA Business Genetics, Eli Lilly , SHRM, Emirates Group, Etisalat, Footprint Private Equity, Genpharm Services, Globe Finance, Gulf advisors, HSBC, HSL Partners, Injazat, Korn Ferry, KPMG, Lee Hecht Harrison, Manpower, Merck Serono, Metin Mitchell, Novartis, Odgers Berndtson, Pemberton Partners, Pharma World, Bayer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Richemont , Sandoz, Saudi German Hospital Group, Schneider Electric, Serco, Sheffield Haworth, Spengler Fox, Standard Chartered, Step out consulting, Synergy, The Gulf Recruitment Group, Two Four 54, Vision Executive Search, Wise and Miller, Zurich International Life.
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