So hopefully some of you reading this will remember me! It’s been over 6 months since I left my last organisation and took some much needed time to reflect on my own career over the last 8 years in the UAE. I had to think very carefully about whether this was the right time in my life or indeed the right market to launch another Dubai-based recruitment agency. I specialise in recruiting Human Resources professionals and have been lucky enough to work for credible and established HR specialists, but at the same time I had become incredibly frustrated with my industry. My own standards have always been high, and I wanted to make sure my efforts would add value before investing in my own company
The recruitment industry during my time here has changed hugely; not to mention the progression of HR as a function overall. I’ve watched companies grow to over 2000 employees without implementing an HR strategy, or even hiring an HR Manager; whilst at the same time supported start-ups wanting to attract a senior HR Director as the 3rd employee. The true impact and value of HR within a company has always been debated in the Middle East; perhaps understandably in a region predominantly focused on generating revenue from expatriate skills as opposed to developing talent. Short term gains versus long term goals has led to success and failure for recruiters across all sectors. To some extent, the unpredictability of companies here is both exciting and frustrating for consultants in my sector and I had to accept that this is unlikely to change.
I’ve also witnessed recruitment agencies change their philosophy and service levels based on their perception of what clients want from a supplier. When I moved here in 2011, clients looked for professional representation, quality over quantity of CVs and a focus on customer service. Over the years, this has changed to a price-driven market with less interest in quality or results. My own approach is most certainly the former, so I had to be sure there was still an appetite for this. When considering the branding for Holden Reilly, I was asked to think about my own values and work ethic. The words that came to mind where reliability, authenticity and integrity – and I had to be sure that prospective candidates and clients would appreciate these qualities.
Not the mention the cost, time and effort that is required to set up your own business in Dubai! Some processes are incredibly easy, and others are not! It was certainly a learning experience and I am very proud to say I now have a company registered in this amazing part of the world.
The UAE still has so much potential; there are a huge number of challenges in this market, but my gut feeling is there is a still demand for what I do and for the candidates I will represent. The HR market itself is diverse now – many companies have successfully implemented shared services, invested in centres of excellence, and are committed to developing local talent over the longer term. Of course, there will always be a focus on price, but I truly believe you get what you pay for in this region.
But of course, I didn’t just sit on the beach for the last 6 months! Whilst setting up Holden Reilly, I have also been working in the fitness industry and helping people reach their personal goals in a slightly different way (many HR Directors included!). It has taught me that every industry has its challenges, and it is how you manage them that sets you apart as a company and a brand. I can only hope that Holden Reilly will be nearly as successful as the fitness brand I also represent.
So here it is – Holden Reilly is now trading, and I hope 2020 will be a very exciting year! I would love to hear from many of you and you can contact me directly at email@example.com
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year.