There’s nothing wrong with a spot of poaching

I’ve always harboured an ambition to one day be important enough to get poached from a job and sent on gardening leave. The idea of several weeks of paid sunbathing tends, for some reason, to appeal. To date I’ve always sadly been too far down the food chain. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s basically that if you get poached by a rival, your employer will want you out of the office.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  May 7, 2006

There’s nothing wrong with a spot of poaching|~||~||~|I’ve always harboured an ambition to one day be important enough to get poached from a job and sent on gardening leave. The idea of several weeks of paid sunbathing tends, for some reason, to appeal. To date I’ve always sadly been too far down the food chain. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s basically that if you get poached by a rival, your employer will want you out of the office. But because of the confidential business information locked up in your brain, for the duration of your notice period they can insist you don’t do anything for your new master either. It’s not a trend that’s really hit the Middle East yet — depending where they are, employers tend to take the slightly more satisfying (for them) opportunity of banning former employees if they can. But the issue of job mobility is becoming a big one throughout the Middle East’s marketing industry. Not only for flexibility on the employee side, but also flexibility in ability to hire the right people. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the Saudisation programme is the crunch issue. Unless you employ local nationals, you will struggle to get the necessary visas to hire in foreign talent. And in an industry with little heritage in advertising, finding home grown talent is virtually impossible. In the UAE, where there is more freedom, particularly for companies in the Dubai Media City free zone, the current advertising boom is fuelling the jobs merry-go-round. The creation of agencies like new Dubai Press Club PR operation Jiwin, the new franchise of ad agency Lowe and media agency PHD demonstrate that this growth is going on in all of the marketing disciplines. As talent finally becomes a selling point for agencies seeking to win and retain business, having the best people becomes a big issue. Suddenly the superstars are being properly valued, not least financially. And sometimes, as Uncle Phil Lynagh argues, that means mounting a raiding party to get them. Still, the raiding party only succeeds if the potential employee wants to be poached. And, as Ravi Rao of OMD argues, that depends on whether the employee feels that they are being paid fairly, doing an interesting job and being treated well. There’s another factor at play here too. It may be enormously frustrating in the short term to lose your best people. But one of the issues holding back the industry here has been the lack of cross fertilisation. There has been little opportunity to get exposed to best practice. Greater movement in the market should drive that. These days, there’s no shame in poaching — or in being poached.||**||

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