Open up ME job market, says SOS

Have the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the global recession affected recruitments in the Middle East? Gayatri Soni Singh from SOS answers some of our questions on the recruitment scene in the Middle East.

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By  Vijaya George Published  October 17, 2001

There is growing concern about the ramifications of the global recession and, more recently, the attacks in the US, on the job scene in the Middle East. “There have definitely been some repercussions but less severe than what has been felt internationally,” says Gayatri Soni Singh, division manager of SOSIT, the new IT recruitment division of SOS Recruitment Consultants. ”Some of the multi-national organisations have frozen recruitment for the time being but it is unlikely that this will be a long-term situation. Many of our large clients are still recruiting as actively as before. On an optimistic note, many of our large clients are still recruiting as actively as before” she explains.

But the fear of recession has brought in its wake a flow of applicants — both US and Arab Americans — and ”this,” admits Gayatri “has been compounded by the World Trade Centre attacks.”

On the one hand, the recession has had severe repercussions on the job market. On the other hand, there are local hurdles to be overcome as well. For one, there is a dearth of It professionals in the market. "There is a specific shortage in a few areas such as IT marketing, as not many companies have a marketing department which is distinguishable from sales. Not too many really qualified Oracle & SQL DBA's either," she says.

According to her "the solution is to train fresh graduates and people in the industry. But most companies opt for the faster solution of undertaking an international search for the candidate."

Meanwhile, the lack of IT skills is being addressed by various organisations in the region and SOS has no doubt that they will help towards rectifying this. Meanwhile, "expatriate labour" fills the current need and, in most cases, she admits it "is an economical option, primarily due to the demand and supply equation.”

But current visa rules make recruitment of expatriates difficult. “With our smaller clients, this is definitely affecting us already. Honestly, I feel that this can seriously affect the economy if this is not addessed. In my view, the closer we move towards an open job market, the better it is for business,” says Gayatri, who is in favour of a “free, unrestricted employment market.”

But what is SOS doing at Gitex anyway? Eugene Koshy, group manager, Business Development explains: “At Gitex, everybody is selling systems, solutions, and hardware. But you need people to sell, operate, manage and maintain these systems. That's where we come in.”
With 27 years of experience and branches throughout the region, SOSIT claims that they have the potential to source the right people for IT companies in the region.

As a parting shot, Koshy adds, “IT companies are all about systems management; we are about people management.”

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