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Look east for an early opportunity

Automotive recruitment in the Middle East will pick up before it will in the UK, according to automotive recruitment agency HCP International, which has placed 6,000 candidates abroad over the past 11 years.

Its focus is to recruit middle and senior management from the UK, as Middle East employers want “the expertise of western management”, said HCP managing consultant Raj Kohli.

As the economic situation hits UK businesses, dealership staff are looking abroad for other options in their careers, no doubt further incentivised by tax-free earnings and free housing.

While the credit crunch has also affected business in Dubai and the surrounding region, Kohli is seeing some good quality jobs in the Middle East.

“In the UK there is not the same volume of jobs, as dealerships have closed or groups have amalgamated management positions.”

He said he expected things to be “back to normal” in the Middle East by quarter three or four of this year.

Sales managers in the UK will typically move to the same role at different dealerships while scope is much broader in the Middle East, said Kohli. Challenges include an international workforce and diverse ways of working.

Marketing is done differently, for example, by promotions in shopping centres.

Different facets are added to a role, so you could be carrying out the responsibilities of a brand manager within a title of sales manager.

As a result, it may well be easier to progress a career in the Middle East.

One dealer who has worked in the Middle East said the wage is not as enticing as it used to be and employers are getting tougher in what they expect in staff.

Kohli agreed and said it is important for motor industry workers to go for the right reasons.

He said: “I try to determine whether they’re going there for the beneficial economic situation or whether they are going there to add value to a business.”

Employers believe in building trust with staff and like people that give commitment and are looking for candidates with brand values that can be translated over there.

“If they already work for a brand it is beneficial as they will understand its values and already have a relationship with the manufacturer,” added Kohli.

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