View from the other side

8th June 2015

So I’m now seven weeks into my Dubai recruitment journey after 7 years in the marketing and PR sector and while learning a whole new career at this stage of my life has definitely been a challenging and eye-opening experience, the team at MCG have been so welcoming I feel like I’ve been here for years.

Being on the other side of the recruitment fence you realise the limitations which consultants face when dealing with candidates. I’ll admit I used to get frustrated with recruiters when I was seeking a new role, but I now see that unfortunately recruiters are restricted by the open roles they have available and are inundated with literally hundreds of applications every day which have to be filtered and actioned. I would love to grab a coffee with every single person who requests a meeting, but it is just physically impossible.

What’s great is that coming over from the sector I have been working in for years has enabled me to relate to the candidates I have been speaking to. I’ve experienced the ‘joys’ of media monitoring, handled hundreds of media events and understand the nuances of the Arabic language. This means I can talk with first hand experience about the job roles and help people make informed decisions.

It’s been interesting learning about the make-up of all the different agencies in Dubai however; as this is something I didn’t have in-depth awareness of. I really respect the encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry my colleagues possess!

On the whole the marketing and PR industry in the UAE and wider region is very buoyant, but there does seem to be an overall market fixation with Arabic speaking candidates. There are some great Arabic speaking PR people out there, but the talent pool is just not sufficient enough to sustain the needs of all the different agencies and in-house positions. This unfortunately can lead to good non-Arabic speaking candidates being overlooked and people given positions they perhaps aren’t quite ready for.

There also seems to be a preoccupation with candidates to secure an in-house position, viewing it as the pinnacle of their careers. While there are a lot of positives to working client side, there’s much to be said for gaining strong experience in agency life and earning respect in the industry from your clients and peers. This will also make it easier if you do then want to make the switch. It’s a competitive market out there and you need to set yourself apart from the rest of the candidates.

These are my initial thoughts and I’ll be sure to report more findings a few months down the line in my next blog post!

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