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Companies in the Gulf are Recruiting, Some Sectors Still Lagging Behind

Middle East : 20 September 2010

Charterhouse Partnerships’ MD for Middle East and Europe, Jennifer Campori told Arabian Business that some businesses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are continuing to reduce staffing levels, citing some companies in the real estate and international banking industries as examples.

Whilst a recovery in the real estate sector appeared some way off, banks and financial firms are showing signs of recovery and said the commerce and industry economic sectors were actively recruiting in the Gulf, Campori added.

Recruiting experts were in agreement that the staffing cuts in the financial and real estate industries were tailing off dramatically compared to last year and that these industries were seeing the majority of the staffing cuts nationwide.

Mark Houghton, the Director of Executive Roles at the UAE division of Michael Page, noted that there hasn’t been a noticeable amount of people from any one specific sector registering with their recruitment firm.  Houghton sees this as a positive sign.

He noted that although staffing cuts are rumored to be happening in the real estate sector and banking mergers have caused some fall out in that industry, there is “no mass exodus” anywhere.

Houghton also stated that even as front-office banking positions were being reduced, the demand for back office positions like auditors and accounting professionals has risen.

He noted an increased demand for executive recruitment, as firms bring in new talent at the higher levels (CFO) to replace those who could not or did not prove themselves during the financial crisis.

This is a common occurrence in the financial sector.  Both family businesses and quasi-governmental organizations across the region are recruiting new, fresh staff for management positions.

Around the Gulf region entire teams of workers are being searched for by firms that have won projects and need the experienced sales, IT, supplies and marketing staff to take it on.

The trend in the UAE seems to include the replacement of existing workers or trimming back the total staff through downsizing efforts that are not fully completed.

Panos Manolopoulos, the regional VP EMEA for Stanton Chase, noted that this is the case in very large companies that are continuing to work through their restructuring plans.  Cutting back staff in middle and upper management was inevitable, but the crisis accelerated the rate and brought major changes over a few months.

Manolopoulos noted that this happened specifically in the middle levels of management and that the rate of staff cuts has slowed down.  He said that this is occurring in only a few specific businesses in the logistics industry and that it is caused by the contraction in real estate.  He noted that Dubai was hit harder than other areas, but that 2011 would see a different trend emerging.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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