We often see posts on the British Mums group from career focused mums attempting to get back on the ladder and not having much success. Here’s some tips that might help some of you find your next perfect role in Dubai.
The Dubai market – Facts!
Firstly, you need to understand the market here. It’s quite different now to what is was even two years ago. Furthermore, you cannot compare the Dubai job market to the UK, as things are done quite differently here and as a recruiter, it took some time for me to adjust. For example, for the vast majority of my clients, it’s perfectly acceptable to request certain nationalities for their role.
Due to the sustained low oil price, we are experiencing a slower job market which has meant that some companies are hesitant to hire additional headcount or replace their leavers. Consequently, there are more candidates available in the UAE market than there are jobs available; additionally, more people arrive each day in the hope they will find a job. Unfortunately it’s a very tough place to find a job at the moment.
Despite what some of the job sites publish about salary increases, we’re yet to see much improvement and on the contrary can often see many people being made ‘redundant’. In my opinion, salaries have been very stagnant for some years and in particular, senior level salaries have decreased due to the oversupply of senior candidates. As your nationality plays a large role in the salary you could expect, it’s fortunate that for us Brits, salaries are amongst the highest offered for any particular role.
Salaries for part time and flexible roles are often not paid on a pro-rata basis. I have placed some excellent part time Financial Controllers on the equivalent full time salary of AED 25K, whereas if they were working the same type of role in another company full time, they could achieve AED 35K. It’s unfair, yes but part time or flexible roles are in demand and therefore clients take advantage.
Prejudice against women in the workplace
It’s normal for British mums to work as hard (if not harder) than dads, as well as bringing up the kids in many instances! As I am a finance recruiter – 90% of my candidates here happen to be men, and they are usually the sole breadwinners of the family.
Unfortunately, some men still believe the woman’s place is in the home so in many cultures, women do not work at all. I have heard from some female candidates who have been questioned in interviews about the probability of starting a family or having more children. If the candidate has said she is planning to have kids within a couple of years, they’ve not reached the next round…
Tips on finding a job in Dubai
Use your network of friends
If you can get a foot in the door by way of a friend’s referral, you’ll stand a much better chance than applying to jobs online against the thousands of other applicants. Ask your friends to send your CV to relevant people they know.
Keep your eye on the British Mums website
It may not seem like such an obvious place to search, but using a tight-knit community such as British Mums can reap excellent results for employers and recruiters. Half of my team are British mums and we continue to receive an excellent quality of candidates whenever we place adverts on the British Mums website.
Target the right recruitment consultant
An experienced recruiter is likely to be a subject-matter expert in just one field only. For example, if you’re looking for a finance job, target consultants who have this mentioned on their Linkedin profiles or on their company’s website. There really is no point in sending a CV showcasing your marketing experience to a consultant who does not fill marketing positions.
There are a handful of recruitment companies here which purely focus on Mums. Clearly this is a good place to begin your search if you’re looking for part time work, however you still cannot expect that by registering on their website, you will find a job quickly.
Apply for suitable positions online
Ensure your CV is going to the right people as mentioned above – this includes applying for those jobs which you genuinely feel you have a strong chance of getting. Each job post requires just one successful applicant. If 1,000 people apply, 5 will be shortlisted and 995 are going to be unsuccessful in reaching interview stage.
Take note of the requirements and understand that the employers who pay the recruiter’s fees, expect us to find their ‘dream candidate’. It’s therefore unlikely you will be shortlisted if you’re applying for a HR Director position if your experience to date has been working as a Sales Assistant. You will become disheartened if you’re applying for 10 roles a day and not hearing back at all. The reason many consultants don’t reply to job applicants is the volume we receive is not manageable. If we spent all day replying to applicants, we wouldn’t have time to do anything else.
Are you sending your CV to relevant roles but you’re still not being shortlisted? Recruiters do not list every single requirement – perhaps there is something missing from your CV, possibly the client just prefers a male candidate or perhaps your CV doesn’t sell you well enough…
Ensure your CV is professional
Multi-coloured CVs using different sized text which is bold, in italics and underlined, cluttered with spelling mistakes, and a poor-quality photo are a real turn-off for any professional company.
If you choose to include a photo, ensure it is recent and that you are in appropriate attire for your industry and job type. A CV should be no longer than 3 pages, demonstrating key achievements gained in each company. Stick to using bullet points, avoid long paragraphs, and keep it simple and clean. Many recruiters have to sift through hundreds of CVs for each position. If your CV is easy to read, mentioning relevant keywords, you’ll stand a better chance of being noticed.
Post your CV on the main job sites
The top 4 sites include: Gulf Talent, Bayt, Monster and Naukrigulf. You can also apply for jobs on indeed.ae and Linkedin. Don’t underestimate Linkedin as a tool, we use it to find our candidates – Your profile should be detailed with a professional photo and the dates should match those on your CV. There is a high chance that Recruiters will check a Linkedin profile picture before they call you. They are likely to also look you up on Facebook – so ensure your photos are locked to the general public and it’s advisable not to have any ‘unsuitable’ photos as your main profile photo and of course the British Mums website is an excellent place for you to find a job! Roles are particularly targeted at ladies in the workplace, (often part time or flexible), and although the audience may be smaller in comparison to the larger websites mentioned above – you have an excellent chance of being shortlisted. Our consultants at Inspire Selection have successfully placed a number of mums from their adverts on the British Mums website.
Short cover email – not cover letter
I personally prefer a short introductory email to accompany a well-written CV. There isn’t enough time to open a separate cover letter. Unless the employer has specified they want a cover letter, don’t send one. There is also no need to attach multiple documents with qualifications, passport copy etc. I also advise you not to send your CV in a group email – remember to have a more targeted approach, addressing consultants individually. Follow up the email with a phone call.
Meeting recruiters face-to-face is the only surefire way to be remembered. At Inspire Selection, our Consultants each talk to around 20-30 candidates per day so it’s not easy to remember a new person who you had a 5 minute phone conversation with 4 hours earlier. Build a good rapport with your consultant by calling or emailing at an agreed time interval such as once per week or once per month. Don’t bug the consultants though – there is a fine line between keeping in touch regularly enough so that we don’t forget you, and becoming that annoying person who never stops calling! Honestly speaking, Recruiters will put in more effort to help you find a job if they like you.
If you are doing all of the above and still not getting anywhere?
Be patient. Finding the right job can literally take months. There will be a job out there for you at some point but you need to continue to be proactive, keeping in touch with recruiters, asking them for feedback on your CV, how you can do better in the next interview, etc. In the meantime, enjoy the time with your kids as it could be (hopefully) limited before you get back to work! Good luck!
Louise Vine is a successful ‘mumpreneur’ and owner of Inspire Selection, a boutique recruitment agency in Dubai. Louise employs 15 experienced, expert recruiters, several of whom are British mums themselves.