Why it is important to remain realistic during your job hunt

Job-seekers must avoid boom-and-bust companies that promote infinite job opportunities for a while and then make cutbacks later

The best companies to work for are the ones that grow steadily and focus on bringing in the right people at the right time, rather than hiring for the sake of growth. Getty
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Over the last year, the US alone has had more than 70,000 redundancies in the technology sector, with companies such as Meta, Amazon and Google each announcing in excess of 10,000 layoffs globally.

While this has had a direct impact on some workers in the Middle East, those affected may have a better chance to find a new job here than their counterparts in other parts of the world.

High oil prices are having a positive effect on the economy — and many other industries, such as travel and tourism, are also coming back strong, meaning a better overall outlook for the region.

Watch: Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

Local technology success stories such as Careem, Unifonic, Dubizzle and Huspy have grown from start-ups to regional and international employers with strong brands that attract good talent.

In addition, there are still several multinational companies either launching or growing their presence in this region.

Overall, since 2020, I have seen continued growth in the tech vendor space, with companies growing their Middle East operations, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The demand for both tech and commercial skills within these companies does not seem to be slowing down.

This is great for prospective employees — and those actively looking for a new role.

Furthermore, there are many opportunities in Saudi Arabia with Vision 2030 and huge projects under way.

Several companies have or are planning to open entities in the kingdom and while localisation means there will be a preference for hiring locals, the sheer volume of roles available will translate into plenty of opportunities for non-Saudis as well.

That said, there has been some rather ambitious hiring post-Covid-19.

Organisations that mistakenly construed increasing revenue as a sign of growth are the reason why we are seeing redundancies today.

My advice to any job-seeker is to avoid the boom-and-bust companies that seem to promote infinite job opportunities for a while, then make cutbacks months later.

The best companies to work for are the ones that grow steadily (sometimes under the radar) and focus on bringing in the right people at the right time, rather than hiring for the sake of growth.

The same recommendation can be offered to business leaders.

After 15 years of living and working in the UAE and 12 years of running my company, I have seen many general managers and vice presidents come and go.

The most successful individuals I have come across have not only been smart, hardworking and consistent, but also realistic.

Multinational companies that look to grow too quickly when they set up regional offices across the Middle East and Africa end up failing.

Steady and sensible growth will nearly always be more sustainable than over-aggressive plans.

The global market downturns of 2000, 2008 and the recent challenges of Covid-19 have all offered valuable lessons on how to survive tough times.

Looking after your employees, sticking close to your key customers and helping others as much as possible are three of the best things to do in such times.

Sometimes tough decisions have to be made but sticking to these principles will make it easier to get through to the other side.

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Business leaders in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have a positive outlook for 2023, so it’s important to stay connected with key people in your sector
John Armstrong, founder and managing director of JCA Associates

There is no budget required to invest your time in what is important, and receiving help and advice from those around you will offer a huge advantage.

As an employee who has concerns about the long-term prospects of their role or has been made redundant, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Business leaders in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have a positive outlook for 2023, so it is important to stay connected with key people in your sector.

We are seeing big demand for technology talent in the consulting, security and defence industries, but also several opportunities for technical resources across many domains.

For the time being, we do not foresee this demand slowing down and remain hopeful about continued growth in the region, compared with other parts of the world.

John Armstrong is founder and managing director of recruitment agency JCA Associates.

Updated: December 09, 2022, 4:30 AM
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