Scaling Rapidly in Emerging Markets


The very nature of business in the Middle East creates significant challenges for Human Resources (HR) departments in companies of all sizes and across all industries. Whilst continued investment in the region creates opportunities for growth, that growth can only be realised by companies with the right expertise, in the right place and at the right time.

Anybody who has worked in the Middle East understands only too well that decision making takes time, but also that once a decision is made to go ahead with a project, it needs to happen immediately. Whilst HR has responded to this challenge very well in terms of headcount planning, its ability to identify, engage and actually recruit the talent it needs, quickly and cost-effectively, has largely been lacking.

Whether caused by the expertise required for a start-up, the speed required to hire for a new client or location, or the scale of hiring required for a significant project, the requirement is the same – flexible and agile talent acquisition with minimal risk.


How do you ensure you are hiring the best talent?

In the current market, there is an abundance of candidates available, but how do you ensure you’re hiring the best candidates for your business? How do you scale your Talent Acquisition function to meet the needs of the business without impacting your (employer) brand? And whilst remaining aligned to your existing processes and systems, with limited headcount and budget?

Some of the traditional talent acquisition models are no longer fit for purpose:

  • Hiring full time employees to manage talent acquisition can be ineffective; it requires internal expertise to build and lead an internal Recruitment function, which, even if done well, is inflexible in terms of the workload it can manage
  • Mobilising a team of contractors to meet increased demand quickly is challenging. You are restricted to Recruiters who are available immediately, and then have to integrate them into your business before they become productive
  • Recruitment agencies are often the preferred way to scale quickly. Not only is this the most expensive option, it also places your organisational reputation into the hands of multiple suppliers who may also be representing your competitors


Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) has been the solution to this challenge in North America and Europe for almost twenty years yet remains an unfamiliar term to many in the Middle East. As an extension of your internal team, RPO can be managed under your brand, on your systems and in line with your processes enabling you to scale rapidly with the resource you need to meet your headcount requirements, regardless of volume or complexity, and then scale back down as needs diminish.


In addition, RPO is based on outputs rather than inputs. Whilst hiring new team members to meet an increase in demand might seem like the obvious approach, what guarantees does this provide that you’ll make the hires you need? None! A well-structured RPO engagement provides you with the comfort that the increased demand from your business will be met, in terms of hiring volumes, cost and quality.

With the right partner, RPO also delivers a combination of international best practice and local market knowledge; particularly important given the erosion of attractiveness of expat packages and the visa and nationalisation agenda.

CEOs are looking to remain competitive and continue to growth in challenging markets, and HR Directors need to adapt to the unpredictable and changing needs of the business. Finding agile and flexible ways to provide that will smooth the way. It’s definitely something worth considering.