May 22 2013
We are clearly seeing an uplift in business confidence and a similar uplift in a number of indicators which suggest the Region is entering a period of growth. Time of course will tell, as to whether the growth will be sustained and also sustainable, or whether the continued economic conditions in Europe and the US dampen the early signs of the rebound we are seeing.
A necessary trend has been the identification of talent which will materially impact a business either via bottom line contribution or in terms of strengthening an existing management structure. We are far too early into the economic uplift to see business merely creating excess capacity from a workforce perspective.
Certainly areas showing consistent, strong and robust growth include aviation, telecommunications and real estate. These sectors continue their expansion apace and with companies such as Etisalat and ADAC taking the Middle East to the world it is certainly exciting to sit on the sidelines, participate in their plans and simply enjoy the ride. As contributors to the Region, we should all be proud of such companies and celebrate their successes.
I am not sure it is correct to assume there is a given subset of pressing issues causing concern amongst executives throughout the Region. Of course on a daily basis, many business issues are addressed by corporate management and absolutely it is a fact that individual industries face particular challenges they must overcome to ensure a return to shareholders in line with expectations. However, I would expect to see such challenges and concerns continue to be met effectively by the vast majority of companies throughout the UAE.
Work-life balance will always be a good discussion point amongst a group of people. And the reason for this is that each person will have a different viewpoint depending upon myriad factors; age, stage of life, their sex, individual career objectives, relative success and status of the company they represent are simply some of the factors that can affect a given employees view on what constitutes a good work-life balance.
Personally, I like the thoughts of Brian Dyson the former CEO of Coca Cola when he said “In life, we all juggle five balls: A health ball, a family ball, a friends ball, a work ball and a spirituality ball. Four out of the five are made out of crystal. If we drop them, they will shatter. Only one ball is made of rubber and always bounces back; the work ball.”
The mobility of labour both within the Region and also internationally continues the sharp growth we have seen over the last 15 years. And the mobility is not just one way either, as individuals move into and out of specific Regions multiple times in a career.
From the perspective of such mobile senior executives, the challenge in a role determines their level of interest and they will pursue an exciting opportunity no matter which Region the role is situated. Facilitating this trend, we are also seeing increasing fly-in fly-out options being created for more complex locations worldwide.
Whilst we always see a bias from employers to individuals with Regional experience, it is by no means the case that external parties should not set themselves the objective to continue their personal and professional growth in the UAE, which is currently one of the more dynamic, fast paced and exciting commercial environments in the world.
The first adjective that springs to mind to describe Regional executives is talented. The depth and breadth of commercial expertise in the Region is both remarkable and unremarkable – what more should we expect from the stewards of industry sectors which are globally regarded and some of the largest commercial operation in their segment.
Irrespective of age, sex or other personal discriminators however, perhaps the biggest differentiator of senior executives here compared to outside of the Region is the feeling many of them have that they are helping to shape the future of the Region. That they are part of something special, that they have the chance to make an impact, to leave a mark. So many stewards of industry in the Region are proud of their work and their company’s impact in the UAE and worldwide. It is this sense of pride which will continue to fuel the ongoing rise of the UAE as a Regional Global Hub for a multitude of diverse industries.
Search firms use a wide variety of tools to identify outstanding talent for client organisations. A number of these a based around networks in a specific industry, but technology also plays a part. Linkedin is a tool that must be utilised by senior executives. It is an advertising forum where an executive can clearly outline the features and benefits they would bring a role. They can control the environment and the discourse and can demonstrate effective competence by defining their capabilities. Utilising Linkedin to create an outcomes focused overview of their career – rather than just describing generic job responsibilities – is a wonderful way to differentiate their experience and background from others.
Most importantly however, is the need to establish personal links with the Executive Search firms and senior Search Consultants operating in their industry sector. We should all acknowledge that, no matter how technical or professional recruitment processes become in the future, there are only two questions that are ever answered in determining whether one candidate is better than the other.
Those two questions? ‘Is the person nice/do I like them’ and ‘can they do the job’. And we all know which question’s answer is the most significant component of the decision making process.
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