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R3 kickstarts GCC retail recruitment

With many leading retailers struggling to recruit the right staff, an agency from the UK is planning to bring retailers and talented candidates together.

One of the UK’s leading retail recruitment agencies, R3, has established its first offices in the region, in Dubai and Kuwait, in a bid to tap a growing demand for its services in the Middle East.

Retailers, including supermarket and hypermarket groups in the Middle East often experience difficulty in finding suitable people to fill senior roles such as store managers and area managers, and the problem is being exacerbated by rapid growth in the sector across the region.

At the same time, many talented retail professionals in countries that already have a well-developed retail sector are struggling to find suitable openings to develop their careers in the industry.

These are problems that Kevin Edmonds, managing director of R3 Retail’s international operations hopes to address by creating a base for R3 in the Middle East. “We’re taking what we already have in the UK and bringing it closer to our clients in the Middle East. It makes sense for us to leverage the office that we have in the UK but also get closer to our clients by having a presence in Dubai,” Edmonds told Retail News Middle East.

“We recruit operations managers, brand directors, brand managers for retailers in the Middle East,” he said. “We’ll be recruiting for the entire GCC region from the Dubai office.”

Edmonds added that there is a big demand in the market for retail recruitment because there are no other specialist agents for the sector in the region. Furthermore, R3 has experienced rapid growth in the Middle East in the past three years without even having a direct presence in the region. “I’ve been recruiting for 10 years and in this region for three years,” he said.

“During that time we have grown by 200% to 300% year-on-year in terms of actual turnover, so there is a massive demand in the region.”

While there are many retail professionals in the UK and other developed markets looking at opportunities in the Middle East, Edmonds said there are also many talented candidates for senior retail jobs in countries in the Middle East.

“There is a big pool of candidates in the region but there hasn’t been a natural place for them to go to,” Edmonds said. “I’ve been to the region many times, and every time I come over, everyone is saying: ‘we’ve been crying out for this because there isn’t a natural place for us to go to find our next job.’”

Edmonds said he is surprised that other specialist retail recruitment agencies have not set up in the region, although he welcomes “healthy competition.” The Dubai office will employ four people, although this is expected to rise to 10 by the end of the year, by which time the Kuwait office will have a team of about five people.

R3 recruits people for retailers including fashion brands and supermarket groups. Customers in the Middle East will include companies such as Carrefour and Spinneys, according to Edmonds. In the UK, R3 has offices in Manchester and Birmingham and is the third largest player in the retail recruitment industry.

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