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Consulting in Middle East

#1 Consulting in Middle East
13/01/2009 04:18


Can anyone comment on consulting opportunities in middle east. Even in this downturn it seems there is lot of hiring going on overthere. I can see lot of job postings by consultingpoint, selecture and mindbench but on the other end one of friend working in a big 4 in UAE told me that its very tough to get in these days. Any advice how to seek the position in UAE and which recruiting company to contact?

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#2 RE: Consulting in Middle East
13/01/2009 15:57

bletherer to abc (#1)

You may get a better response if you ask in English!

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#3 RE: Consulting in Middle East
14/01/2009 01:55

Gunslinger to abc (#1)

The mid east, like any other region, has been hit by the financial crisis; but not that badly as other countries. Your friend is right in that gone are the easy days of simply flying into dubai and gettign a well paid tax free job easy, getting a well priced apartment in a good area and mingling with rich ppl at exlusive parties.

All this is still possible, but much much harder than say 10 yrs back.

The firms in the middle east arnt firing ppl yet, but they are not really hiring many either ( at least not aggressively hiring as they used to do).

The companies in the middle east are now looking for seasoned professionals ( at least 7 yrs experience), ones who know how to navigate thru changing economic times as well.

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#4 RE: Consulting in Middle East
16/01/2009 13:16

Arabian Bound to Gunslinger (#3)


I've also been looking at the UAE consulting market and find the following:

- the recruitment firms you mention I think are CV hoarding rather than advertising specific roles. There may be a few select positions they need i.e. directors, public sector consultants (becuase UAE doesn't know what they're doign really and need some help)

- you can use on-line job-sites like Bayt, Monster Gulf, Monster, Reed, Michael Page, Jobs in Dubai etc which all have sections for Mid-East, UAE, Saudi etc. and I have had some success with head hunters here although they are only interested in where you have most experience in industry or a capability (CRM, transformation...)

- Abu Dhabi owns Dubai now, good thing to know and any construction project not poking out of the ground is canned and the rest will be finished although on a budget.

- Good sectors I think are telco, oil & gas, tourism, construction will be more difficult as they begin to lay-off workers

- House prices may fall by up to 30% in the next year if construction industry consolidates meaning it will be more affordable to live and employers will look for decent workers (which I'm sure this forum represents) as opposed to half-qualified guys - so if you're right for the job it, bizarrely, could be a good time to move (April probably)

- project managers in demand so if you're a consultant with PM quals then this would be good

- lot of jobs want you to be in UAE or the local country in Mid East so when applying see if you can use address of a mate and agree you can crash whilst lookign for accomodation - the easier it is for you to start out there the more interested they'll be

- Would be good to chat to anyone tryign to make the move


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#5 RE: Consulting in Middle East
17/01/2009 12:12

abc to Arabian Bound (#4)

Arabian bound than,ks for the detailed reply. Can you name the head hunters that you had success with?

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#6 RE: Consulting in Middle East
18/01/2009 15:21

Middle East based Brit to abc (#5)

You have to look beyond Dubai. Abu DHabi is growing. Qatar, Bahrain and even Oman are also doing well in terms of places where you can live a relatively westernised life. If you are serious about cracking it, however, the best route is to head to Saudi or another less fashinable location (you have to be a man). You will then be able to apply for one of the choice locations with some regional experience under your belt. You will be in a long queue for a small number of jobs in Dubai

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#7 RE: Consulting in Middle East
19/01/2009 02:25

Gunslinger to Middle East based Brit (#6)

Agreed with the above response. You have to look beyond dubai( dubai has a lot of competition and is well entrenched). There is a long line of qualified ppl for jobs in dubai. This line will be even longer if you are not connected with the right ppl in dubai. Connections are extremely important in all mid east regions. Work with international recruiters that have offices there , get the word out that you are serious about working in the region, and be open to other areas such as qatar, kuwait, abu dhabi and other emirates etc...Once you have 2-3 yrs at these gulf states, you can more easily relocate to dubai ( citing mid east experience).

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#8 RE: Consulting in Middle East
19/01/2009 06:47

dubai consultant to Gunslinger (#7)

Agree there are very few opps in Dubai at the moment, lay offs already in the consulting sector. To be fair though, most companies use their Dubai HQ as a nice place to base, most consultants are on a plane. Dubai has gone from a small consulting market to a non-existent one, consultants with a job have to take whatever projects are going.

Abu Dhabi, though it has always had the cash, is now coming out of the shadow of Dubai on the world stage, though the low oil price will curtail them from making Dubai's expensive mistakes. It's a sleepy place but a pleasant place to live and work, especially if you're a family person rather than a singleton.

Saudi has the cash and the clout but is a pretty unpleasant place to live, Qatar is small but consider it as it's loaded, Kuwait are the only honest state just now in saying they're screwed, Bahrain and Oman the poorer countries of the GCC but nice places to live. Expect lower packages though.

Overall, the market has been swamped with CVs from the West in the last 3 months, if you're serious about the region you're going to have to do some serious networking and be prepared to take an interim position before springboarding to your dream job.

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#9 RE: Consulting in Middle East
19/01/2009 12:40

Gunslinger to dubai consultant (#8)

Yeah , agreed. Require big time networking- must know the right people. Also, gulf countries value education much more than , say, anglo-sphere western countries. So, an MBA from a top school will carry a lot of clout in the mid east. A good MBA will definately give you a point of differentiation. The key is , of course, knowing the right people- network or forget it! especially in this climate.

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#10 RE: Consulting in Middle East
19/01/2009 13:05

CSWannabe to Gunslinger (#9)

does posting in here count as networking?

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#11 RE: Consulting in Middle East
26/01/2009 21:40

Ex-Expat to CSWannabe (#10)

Agree with the above - Dubai is struggling at the moment, and besides the cost of living there is astronomical and it's getting very hard to afford a decent quality of life there. If rents come down substantially that will help a lot, but even so it's certainly not somewhere I'd choose to live again if I wanted (a) quality of life, or (b) to save money.

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#12 RE: Consulting in Middle East
27/01/2009 02:50

First Dog Barney Bush to Ex-Expat (#11)

Just heard that dubai is worse than many ppl expected. Layoffs are mounting....lots of construction projects have simply stopped! and all the workers sent back home.

Looks like you have to try other areas other than dubai in the middle east.

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#13 RE: Consulting in Middle East
27/01/2009 08:04

Tim to First Dog Barney Bush (#12)

Mouchel is looking for consultants to work on the projects in ME. Any thoughts on working with Mouchel as management consultant in ME???

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#14 RE: Consulting in Middle East
27/01/2009 09:56

Ben Chod to Tim (#13)

Mouchel requires sr pm's- very experienced personnel only. I would be a bit cautious as these are infrastructure works projects and subject to termination ( without much advance notice) if the funding runs out. The reason why one has to be careful is that dubai, like all mideast countries, has poor workers rights- the project can get canned at virtually any point, and you may find yourself without a valid visa to remain in the country.

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#15 RE: Consulting in Middle East
27/01/2009 15:08

Carol to Ben Chod (#14)

Hi, as a female determined to get work in the Middle East, would you say there are specific regions I shouldn't bother targetting, as they are male dominated? I am a mature Business Consultant with many years experience as PM for EDMS implementations, training and continuous improvement, appreciate your thoughts, thanks

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#16 RE: Consulting in Middle East
27/01/2009 22:25

Anonymous to Carol (#15)

Recommended that females target only uae countries ( abu dhabi and dubai especially). Will find it very difficult in places like saudi arabia.

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#17 RE: Consulting in Middle East
28/01/2009 04:24

Andy to Anonymous (#16)

Even in UAE, it depends on which sector you want to work in. For females, its better to avoid Public Sector. Bahrain and Qatar are also good places, I think it mainly Saudi which should be avoided, plus females cannot drive over there too ...

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#18 RE: Consulting in Middle East
28/01/2009 17:19

Lawrence of Arabia to Anonymous (#16)

Ignore this, people don't know what they are talking about, try Bahrain, Qatar and the Emirates ie Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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#19 RE: Consulting in Middle East
28/01/2009 20:02

josh to Lawrence of Arabia (#18)

....and why shouldn't we ignore you....?

do you know what you're talking about..? (so far I haven't seen any data that supports your hypothesis ;-)

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#20 RE: Consulting in Middle East
28/01/2009 22:46

Jack the Stripper to josh (#19)

Working in the mid east is probably not as bad as the media portrays it to be.

Even for females, there are several mid east countries that a relatively hospitable for women

Here is my list:

Tier 1 ( most hospitable)

- UAE (dubai, abu dhabi, sharjah, etc)

Tier 2

- Qatar


-Kuwait ( possiblty tier 3)

Tier 3

Oman ( nice place but lacking cash of other rivals)

Tier 4 (Least desirable)

- Saudi Arabia ( its probably not that bad as you will have a 'driver' who will be a man. cars will be tinted, you get what i am aint that bad. You will be indoors mostly and probably not that bad.

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#21 RE: Consulting in Middle East
29/01/2009 11:02

Lawrence of Arabia to josh (#19)

Well Josh I have been to the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain and met the women working in the consultancies that work there. Practice Directors and Senior Managers.

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#22 RE: Consulting in Middle East
29/01/2009 11:35

anon to Lawrence of Arabia (#21)

Bit off topic but are high end watches much cheaper in the middle east? I may have the option to work in saudi for a week.

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#23 RE: Consulting in Middle East
30/01/2009 00:57

Rolex to anon (#22)

high end watches are only a bit cheaper. You are better off buying solid gold ( either bullion or jewellery) as this is much cheaper in saudi than elsewhere.

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#24 RE: Consulting in Middle East
30/01/2009 09:25

Exotic Consulting to Rolex (#23)

These are very exotic locations

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#25 RE: Consulting in Middle East
30/01/2009 20:04

Arabian Bound to Exotic Consulting (#24)


Ive been contacted by a few more headhunters based in Dubai recently however they have been passing me for jobs in Qatar, Bahrain and some in Abu Dhabi. Qatar seems to be the new boom town however its like Dubai 15 years ago. Abu Dhabi looks good if you can find the right role like perhaps taking a role in industry that utilises your consulting skills set - you often get paid more than consulting, get more responsibility and work very sensible hours.

My tip - Head for Qatar, Bahrain or Abu Dhabi and weekend in Dubai initially and apply to Dubai when the market starts to pick up again - at the moment I'm told there are almost no jobs on agents books for Dubai.

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#26 RE: Consulting in Middle East
31/01/2009 10:05

gulf bound to Arabian Bound (#25)

arabian bound, I am also looking for career role in ME, can you name few head hunters who have been passing you for the roles, I am also in touch with few but they dont have anything for management consulting roles in the region.

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#27 RE: Consulting in Middle East
31/01/2009 12:49

a start to gulf bound (#26)

Check out the "Rest of World" section in the career opportunities as a start. Though a quick look shows many of them have the same end companies on their books.

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#28 RE: Consulting in Middle East
31/01/2009 14:38

freddie to a start (#27)

Almost all of the opportunities for ME in the career section seems fake. I have spoken to almost all of the recruiters mentioned in career section over the phone as well as through emails and the way they acted, gives me the impression that they are just collecting CVs.

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#29 RE: Consulting in Middle East
02/02/2009 14:43

Arabian Bound to freddie (#28)

Yes they are collecting CVs. Not much call for consultancy in Dubai currently except for Government and Telco by the sounds of things. In these cases they want experienced manager-level roles to work in sectors not too affected by the downturn or where there is lacking local expertise or churn.

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#30 RE: Consulting in Middle East
02/04/2009 22:20

aasim to Arabian Bound (#4)

ok have abt 9 yrs exp already a financial consultant in dubai wot r the chances being offer a job in bain mckinsey boston as appling directly any other insight would be more than welcome thanks

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#31 RE: Consulting in Middle East
05/04/2009 21:12

Spell Checker to aasim (#30)

Judging by your language, I doubt you have 9 years of experience. At high school maybe...

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#32 RE: Consulting in Middle East
06/08/2009 14:10

karthikeyan to Middle East based Brit (#6)

i need job in UAE or any western countries right now how is market in both the place., shall i get a job over there??please advice me.

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#33 RE: Consulting in Middle East
06/08/2009 14:45

go for it to karthikeyan (#32)

Yes, economy growing big time in both place. Best time ever to get big consultin gjob you want. Dont hesitate - sell house and all possesisions - get on first flight to eoither place. Buy one way ticket. Dont wait till next week - will be too late.

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#34 RE: Consulting in Middle East
14/08/2009 12:42

Joe to go for it (#33)

Lots going on in Saudi, PWC just nicked all the senior E&Y partners....UAE very flat stuff on Jobserve and Gulf Talent etc

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#35 RE: Consulting in Middle East
17/08/2009 20:25

radiant to Joe (#34)

What about Beirut? Is Lebanon growing?! I've seen Booz's has an office there...

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#36 RE: Consulting in Middle East
18/08/2009 14:16

Ruth Bannister to radiant (#35)

For the record there are roles in the middle east, UAE and dubai, esp. int TMT, strategy - I know as I've got a bunch of them to recruit for! Some companies will be stockpiling, yes, as HR depts have little to do in downturns and the silly season, but as in most emerging markets there is still the opportunity for top tier firms to expand. thay just like to use headhunters like me rather than flooding the market with adverts!

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#37 RE: Consulting in Middle East
21/08/2009 00:05

Anon to Ruth Bannister (#36)

Hi Ruth

I presume you are a recruitment consultant? Like many, I am interested in consulting roles in the Middle East...may I ask what company you work for and perhaps I can contact you?

Many thanks

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#38 RE: Consulting in Middle East
21/08/2009 08:50

ruth bannister to Anon (#37)

Hello Anon,

thanks for your interest -I'm not trying to use these boards as a way of advertising - it (rightly) annoys people and there is a whole page on opportunities on TC already. I do, however, use my real name and can be found on Linked in -send me a message and we can talk ......

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