To kick off the brand new Think & Grow team interview series is Jules Holland, Partner at Think & Grow. While based between the UK and Dubai, Jules proactively identifies awesome talent for our clients across the UK, UAE, the US and Australia so is well-adept to sharing market trends, hiring advice for founders and the key to maintaining a successful remote role.
Why did you join Think & Grow?
My top 3 reasons:
You’ve got a wealth of experience in talent sourcing and acquisition. What is it about working in talent that makes you so passionate about it?
I’m really interested in people, and maybe because I’m such a curious person, I get excited when I find the right human that’s going to make a difference to the client. I want the hiring manager that I’m partnering with to know that I’ll find them a superstar person who will do a great job. Equally for the talent and their new role and company they’re going into will be a great career move and experience for them. The role I play in all of this is what gives me the buzz!
Being based in Dubai you’re in a different time zone to many of the Think & Grow team, which can be tricky or problematic for employees. What’s the key to making that work for you and being successful in your role?
For me, it’s about balancing the give and take. This way of working isn’t for everybody and I’m particular in how I organize my work and structure my working day. I need to make sure I’m accessible to the team in Australia and to my clients and candidates in the UK, East Coast and West Coast in the US. I believe to be successful working in a global remit, you need to maintain a balance between a healthy personal life and a disciplined focus on achieving your goals. You also need to be mindful about contacting your colleagues outside of their core working hours and equally protecting your own personal time which I’ve now learned to do.
Do you have any fresh insights to share across the Dubai, UK and Australian markets with regard to hiring talent in 2022?
Coming out of the pandemic has re-opened the opportunity for our clients to recruit and discover talent internationally. Immigration departments are back on track with visa processing and markets are starting to bubble up again generating a flow of expat movement.
Throughout covid-19, it was interesting to see the boomerang movement of talent making the decision to head home - with many accepting immediately available jobs over long-term career plans.
There have been interesting developments, particularly within the fintech sector in the UAE, there will be a necessity for talent for this sector to be outsourced outside of the region. The decision at the beginning of the year to re-align the weekend with the West and with the current growth both in the UAE and Saudi, there is a lot of opportunity being created in the region.
Finally, the move for many companies in adopting a fully remote working model vs those that have decided on hybrid or office-based will have an impact on salary alignment. Something that will need careful consideration for both headcount costs and legal compliance in salary levelling.
What advice would you give organizations in attracting and retaining great talent?
Diversity of workforce to ensure that organizations aren’t narrow in their hiring approach. My advice is to focus on recruiting what you don’t have as opposed to recruiting more of the same of what you have already.
Beware of retention over candidate attraction. Retention strategies are interesting tools but are easily misaligned. Companies offer a long list of benefits that include “birthdays off” or gym memberships and end up leaving behind the reason talent wants to join the company. People stay because they want to do valued, meaningful work, and having the right tools to do great things - it’s not all about fancy perks.
What advice would you give to start-ups making their first hire in the UAE/UK FinTech space?
Don’t just look at what you need today. Think about what you need in 6 to 12 months' time. That will help formalise the level and depth of technical expertise you will need and the type of resource engagement. There is so much thought around the product/service development but it should align with the talent and development strategy.
What’s an interesting trend you’ve seen emerge in the last 12 months in the way clients/candidates are approaching the job market?
I’ve noticed more companies are moving back to office-based working. Bringing in boundaries around days in the office for those that have adopted hybrid working. The “time to hire” for clients who have returned to office-based working is in some areas a longer process. Finding talent with the restriction of hiring location and within big cities, the volume of suitable and available talent has shrunk - at least for the moment.
The initial hum of the great resignation has certainly slowed down. Candidates are showing signs of sitting tight and not jumping to chat about the next role unless it’s something unique. We are fortunate enough that we partner with interesting clients and the mix of different roles and levels on offer position us well in the market for talent to connect with us.
During my career, I’ve experienced working through several downturns and recessions such as the dot.com and the financial market crashes where companies were immediate in releasing their talent - only to be challenged in the following 12 months to re-recruit. . Companies in some sectors would be advised to carefully think about their recruiting and talent strategies. Even with a possible looming recession, there will be sectors that will continue to experience exponential growth.
Want to connect with Jules? Check out her LinkedIn profile.
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