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5 Mins With… Toby Simpson, CEO, Gulf Recruitment Group

5 Mins With… Toby Simpson, CEO, Gulf Recruitment Group

The Gulf Recruitment Group will soon expand into Saudi Arabia and Iraq, says Toby Simpson.

What is your company focusing on this year?

We have been relaxing our sector focus for recruitment, particularly in the second half of the year. For the past few years we have focused our efforts on defensive sectors like consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, but we believe with some confidence coming back to the market, we will be spending more time on sectors such as private equity, real estate and investment banking.

Are you concerned that the current volatile global economic climate will affect your strategy?

It’s a nervous world out there and not just because of Europe, but the shine is rapidly coming off some of the BRICs as well. There are a number of possible global outcomes that would result in a local liquidity shortage and capital adequacy deficits for the banks, which would result in the lending rug being pulled out from under the feet of the economy again, but I don’t believe the impact would be as bad this time.

The reason for my confidence is that growth now is not fueled by debt-laden real estate, but by growth driven by genuine consumer and market demand. I am sure regional governments will have learned much from the experiences of the last few years, and could react quickly by using their budget surpluses on public spending increases without risking rampant inflation.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

Volumes are reaching new heights in sectors like healthcare, and we will begin to see a return of some more traditional financial and hospitality sectors. The senior end of the recruitment market has been slow due to lack of new investment or new ventures, but we expect a partial recovery in Q4.

What new products will your company launch this year?

No new sectors are planned, just ever increasing service levels for those we do cover.

Will you be expanding into new territory?

We are looking at Saudi Arabia and Iraq for the near future.

What is the biggest challenge for UAE businesses in your sector in 2012?

Maintaining pricing levels and therefore quality of service has been tough for many firms over the past few years, and some have failed as a result. I am optimistic we will see growth in our sector so the challenges will be to excel amidst healthy competition.

Will you be hiring this year?

Yes. We have already increased headcount by 36 per cent this year and expect to grow again by roughly another 15 per cent before the end of the year.

What’s your leadership style?

Trust. I believe the guys know that management will always look out for their best interests, and will always act fairly and appropriately. In return we receive ambition, loyalty and hard work.

What makes the perfect employee?

Strong genetic material forged in the fires of useful life experience.

Define success in five words…

The GCC’s Most Respected Firm

Three tips for becoming the boss…

1. Recognise that those below you in a hierarchy are more important than those above you to your own success.

2. Well tailored three-piece suits.

3. Don’t plan for the sake of it, have a vision that you and those around you can get excited by.

When I’m not at work I like to…

Make use of Dubai’s outstanding dining and socialising facilities then vainly attempt to work it off at the beach club.

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