Archives for April 2024

Understanding the Business and Talent Landscape in the Middle East

Understanding the Business and Talent Landscape in the Middle East

Toby Simpson

Our Middle East series has been designed to introduce you to the unique business and talent landscape of the region. In our first blog of the series, we discuss the phenomenal growth that the region has experienced over recent years and what that might mean for businesses looking to expand into this part of the world.

Unveiling the phenomenal growth of the Middle East's commercial economy

The mesmerizing skyline of Dubai, gleaming under the sun, may evoke serenity, but within its bustling streets lies a different reality – one of frenzied business activity and unprecedented growth. Despite global trends of remote work reshaping office landscapes elsewhere, the Middle East stands out with its thriving commercial economy. Let’s delve into what’s driving this surge and why businesses are increasingly eyeing the region for expansion. 

Unprecedented demand for office space

Contrary to the global trend of remote work impacting office rents, the Middle East experiences record-high demand for Grade A office spaces. According to Cushman & Wakefield, the occupancy rates have soared, with a staggering 24% annual increase in prices. In Dubai alone, over the last three years, 13 million square feet of office space has been absorbed, indicating a robust demand for commercial real estate. 

Explosive growth in business activity

The numbers speak volumes – Dubai witnessed a 30% increase in active businesses in 2023, a remarkable 75% higher than just two years prior. The Dubai International Finance Centre, a hub for financial services, saw a significant rise in registered entities, fueled by a surge in private equity-backed ventures and a flourishing community of entrepreneurs. This surge in business activity is not limited to Dubai; neighboring Saudi Arabia emerges as a formidable destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), outpacing the UAE for the first time in history. 

Rising importance on the global stage

The Middle East’s economic prowess is gaining global recognition, with the region’s revenues accounting for a substantial portion of UK’s publicly traded companies’ (PLC) total earnings. As businesses seek to capitalize on robust GDP growth in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) region, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) become increasingly vital markets for multinational corporations. 

Understanding the drivers behind the growth

While solid GDP growth underpins the region’s economic vitality, it’s essential to examine the factors propelling this rapid surge. Weaker oil prices and OPEC supply cut agreements have spurred diversification efforts, redirecting investments toward non-oil sectors. However, questions linger about the sustainability of this growth, given historical boom-and-bust cycles and external economic uncertainties. 

The Middle East’s commercial landscape presents unprecedented opportunities for businesses looking to expand their footprint. With soaring demand for office space, explosive business growth, and increasing global relevance, the region emerges as a lucrative market for investment. However, understanding the underlying dynamics and navigating potential challenges are crucial for long-term success in this dynamic and evolving economic landscape.

In part two of our Middle East series, we’ll delve into the some of the factors that businesses may want to consider when expanding into the region. 

If you are considering developing your presence in the Middle East, please consider speaking to our Hudson RPO leadership team here on the ground as we would be happy to offer the advice, guidance and support that our decades of experience in the region has to offer. 

Toby Simpson 
Managing Director Executive Search, EMEA 
Tel: +971 50 600 1105  
Email: [email protected] 

James Watfa 
Vice President Middle East, RPO 
Tel: +971 50 452 1819 
Email: [email protected] 

Toby Simpson

Managing Director, Executive Search EMEA, Hudson RPO

Toby is an executive search professional with long experience of executive and non-executive searches in investment banking, asset management and private equity; largely for portfolio companies across all sectors from agriculture to zoology.

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The China talent outlook for 2024

The China talent outlook for 2024

Content Team

With Talent Expert, Mia

We recently asked Mia Lin, Client Solutions Manager, our China-based talent expert, to share her views on the talent outlook in China for 2024.  

The China talent market is facing the juxtaposition of both a pressing demand for skilled technical workers, as well as an oversupply of graduates and white-collar professionals. Nevertheless, experts maintain an optimistic outlook on employment and incomes in 2024 while company profits recover. We asked our talent expert Mia Lin, what it means for employers in 2024.  

Today's employers are not just seeking to fill positions; they're committed to actively building a workforce that possesses the skills necessary for the future. This shift underscores a deliberate effort to invest in and nurture a dynamic pool of talent that helps organizations thrive in a changing world.”

The top skill sets in demand

China is still facing an oversupply of both university graduates and white-collar workers. According to Mia, skill shortages in new energy, intelligent manufacturing, and the semiconductor industry will particularly stand out when looking at increased needs for talent.

  • Electric vehicles

    China passed Japan as the world’s largest automotive exporter in the first quarter of 2023, thanks to its growing dominance in electric vehicles. Battery-powered vehicles will account for 30 per cent of China’s total car exports this year. Car design and manufacturing-related roles are in particularly high demand.

  • Intelligent manufacturing

    The Chinese government has set out to become the world’s largest intelligent manufacturing application market. Shortages of talent with the right digital skill sets in intelligent manufacturing are forecast to grow to 5.5 million by 2025

  • Semiconductors

    Last year, China ramped up efforts to develop home-grown semiconductor talent. Despite an increase in university enrolments in industry-funded courses, and an influx of talent recruited overseas, China is battling a shortage of an estimated 200,000 industry workers.  

Attracting talent

In a market where employers are competing for talent, employers are turning to offers such as flexibility, job stability, and increased salary packages.  

“Today’s top talent is discerning in their career choices, placing heightened importance on factors such as work stability, a genuine care for employees, and flexible working arrangements in both time and location. In a dynamic job market, attracting talent requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond traditional compensation structures. It involves a holistic package that aligns with their desire for stability, a supportive workplace culture, and flexible work models.” 

Trends to watch

In addition to employers reviewing their offerings to attract more talent, Mia recognizes some additional trends across the China talent market for 2024:   

  • Digitalization and technology talent demand

    Accelerated digital transformation across sectors is driving demand for professionals in the highly competitive areas of artificial intelligence (AI), big data, data security and software/hardware.  

  • The flexible workforce

    As the global economy remains unpredictable, many organizations are looking to cut costs. Flexible work models with contractors (also known as a contingent workforce model) will be mutually beneficial for organizations and early- to mid-career talent looking to build their skills while leveraging more flexible ways of working. This trend was looked at closely by our Talent Expert Lucy in our UK talent market outlook.

  • Soft skills

    Amidst skill shortages, more organizations will turn to a skills-based approach to hiring and development pathways for talent already in their organization. As such, soft skills become more important, particularly resilience, a learning mindset, and the ability to multi-task are highly sought after. 

The talent market in China 2024, will see a skills-driven talent market with a large focus on employee benefits and technological advancement. As we’ve seen in previous years, the dynamic talent market can turn quickly, and adaptability and the backing of a strategic recruitment partner are key to staying ahead of the competition for talent.

Mia Lin, is highly experienced in the recruitment industry and has a deep understanding of organizational needs and the benefits an RPO can bring. Mia works with clients across the China region to transform their talent functions and shape the future of their businesses to achieve exceptional outcomes.  Do you want to talk about your hiring plans for 2024 in more detail? Get in touch with our experts here. 

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

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Navigating Talent Acquisition in Uncertain Times: Strategies for Success

Navigating Talent Acquisition in Uncertain Times: Strategies for Success

Amanda Gruwell

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, organizations face numerous challenges when it comes to talent acquisition (TA). Market uncertainties, shifting priorities, and evolving skill requirements can make it difficult to attract and retain the right talent. However, by adopting a strategic and adaptable approach to TA, companies can navigate these complexities and ensure they have the workforce they need to thrive.

Key strategies for effective TA in uncertain times include:

  • Strategic workforce planning: Aligning talent needs with business objectives to support continuity and growth.
  • Flexible TA models: Embracing outsourcing or project-based hiring for scalability and cost efficiency.
  • Data-driven decision making: Utilizing talent analytics and market insights to inform TA strategies.

In times of market uncertainty, organizations need a trusted partner to help them navigate the complexities of talent acquisition. At Hudson RPO, we understand that your talent needs are directly tied to your business objectives, and we’re committed to delivering strategic solutions that ensure you have the right people in place to drive success.

Other important considerations for TA in uncertain markets:

  • Strengthening employer brand and value proposition: Communicating stability, growth opportunities, and employee support to build trust and engage job seekers.
  • Cultivating talent pipelines and internal mobility: Building talent communities, offering upskilling and reskilling programs, and encouraging internal mobility to maintain a strong workforce.
  • Collaborating with stakeholders and partners: Aligning efforts with hiring managers, partnering with HR and business leaders, and engaging with external experts for insights and support.

Whether you’re looking to rethink your fixed TA infrastructure, strengthen your talent pipelines, or simply need a partner who can provide the insights and support you need to make informed decisions, Hudson RPO is here to help.

Our flexible, data-driven approach to talent acquisition enables us to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, while our deep expertise in workforce planning, employer branding, and DEI inclusion helps you build a strong, resilient workforce for the future. Together, we can turn uncertainty into opportunity and position your organization for long-term growth and success.

Amanda Gruwell

Sr. Director, Client Solutions

As a strategic global Sr. Sales Director at Hudson RPO, Amanda Gruwell manages key national accounts across diverse industry verticals, focusing on developing total talent attraction strategies and consistently exceeding targets. With expertise spanning strategic business development, client needs assessment, talent acquisition, and end-to-end sales cycles, Amanda is a trusted partner to clients seeking to optimize their talent initiatives.

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Hudson RPO Acquires UAE-Based Striver, a Leading Executive Search Firm

Addition Solidifies Hudson RPO’s Position in the Middle East

Old Greenwich, Conn., April15, 2024 – Hudson RPO, a global total talent solutions company owned by Hudson Global, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSON), announced today it is expanding its presence in the Middle East with the acquisition of Striver, a Dubai-based executive search organization. This announcement follows Hudson RPO’s March 2024 acquisition of Dubai-based Executive Solutions, a firm focused on Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

With the new acquisition of Striver in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hudson RPO is strongly equipped to partner with new and existing clients for their senior talent acquisition needs in the rapidly growing Middle East region.

The firm’s Middle East executive search efforts will be led by Striver’s founder and current CEO, Toby Simpson, who will take on the role of Managing Director, Executive Search at Hudson RPO. Simpson has extensive experience in executive and non-executive searches in investment banking, asset management and private equity; largely for portfolio companies across a wide range of sectors. He has worked throughout the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), partnering with boards across investment, private sector and government ventures.

Trained in London, Simpson has also worked in-house for a German private equity business and Saudi government entities covering mandates across EMEA.

“The dynamic nature of the business environment in the Middle East calls for true partnership with clients, offering more intelligent solutions that comprise excellence, value, and a more supportive framework of capabilities that help ambitious businesses attract and retain the best leadership on the global market,” said Simpson. “I believe that our team, with decades of appreciation of the culture and dynamics of this market, combined with Hudson RPO’s global support and research platform, will allow us to make a big difference for our clients in the region.”

The acquisition of Striver further strengthens Hudson RPO’s executive search function on a global scale. The firm recently announced the appointment of several executive search professionals in North America. This is in addition to significantly increasing its executive search function in the APAC region with the acquisition of Hudson Singapore in late 2023.

“We are pleased to continue to expand and enhance our offering in the executive search space. This furthers our ability to become and remain a core strategic partner for our clients as we assist them in putting the right people in place at all levels of their organizations to develop and execute a winning business strategy,” said Hudson RPO Global Chief Executive Jake Zabkowicz.

About Hudson RPO

Hudson RPO is a leading global provider of flexible and scalable total talent solutions.  At Hudson RPO, people, process, and technology come together to ignite transformative change at mid-market and enterprise-level organizations worldwide. Taking a consultative and collaborative approach, we partner with talent acquisition, HR, and procurement leaders around the globe to build diverse, high-impact teams and drive business success. Learn more at


Hudson RPO
Tracy Kurschner
612 309-3957 / [email protected]

Hudson Global, Inc. Investor Relations
The Equity Group
Lena Cati
212 836-9611 / [email protected]

Katie Murphy
212 836-9612 / [email protected]

Professionals Optimistic About Hiring Outlook for Remainder of 2024

Old Greenwich, Conn., April 10, 2024 – A new Hudson RPO survey shows that professionals have a positive outlook concerning hiring trends for the remainder of 2024.

The survey found that more than three-quarters (86%) of respondents plan on increasing their workforce by the end of the year, and 68% believe it will be easier to find qualified candidates than it was in 2023. 

“While none of us has a crystal ball to positively predict the future, economic indicators show slow and steady growth in the U.S., which helps increase optimism among employers for expanding their business and their talent pools,” said Hudson RPO CEO Jake Zabkowicz.

When asked what would cause a candidate to choose one job over another, more than half (54%) said more money, followed by a better culture (41%). Nearly all respondents (86%) agreed they have clear messaging on why candidates should choose their organization over another, with 36% agreeing to a great extent that they have a strong employer brand. 

All the respondents (100%) agreed that diversity is important, with 36% saying a diverse candidate pool is mandated for each engagement. 

The top reason respondents say they work with a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider is they find higher-quality candidates than they could find on their own (36%), followed by allowing them to contract and expand their talent acquisition efforts as business needs change (32%).

“We know that each client organization has a unique set of requirements when searching for the right candidates. That’s why we do a complete analysis of business needs before we begin sourcing and presenting candidates,” said Zabkowicz.

Respondents are split when asked how the internal HR function is viewed by their organization. Just over half (55%) said HR is considered a core strategic partner to the C-suite, and 45% said HR fulfills the talent mandates set forth by the business units but is not a strategy partner.

“Leaders who understand that talent is their greatest asset will consider HR professionals as core partners who will help set not only the talent strategy but help fulfill business objectives,” said Zabkowicz. 

The majority of respondents (95%) agree that beyond hiring externally, looking within the organization for qualified candidates is critical, with 22% agreeing to a great extent that they have a robust internal mobility program. 

“Talent management should be looked at from a holistic perspective, analyzing business objectives, what talent is needed to achieve those objectives, determining if there are the right people in-house and where an external search is needed,” said Zabkowicz. 

About the survey – The Hudson RPO survey of 276 professionals took place in March 2024.

Survey results

Do you plan on increasing or decreasing your workforce by the end of the year?

  • Increasing: 86%
  • Decreasing: 14%

How optimistic are you about finding quality hires for the rest of 2024?

  • Very optimistic: 23%
  • Somewhat optimistic: 59%
  • Somewhat pessimistic: 14%
  • Very pessimistic: 4%

Are you finding it easier to find quality talent now versus last year?

  • It was easier in 2023: 32%
  • It is easier now: 68%

What is the top reason to work with a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner?

  • They find higher-quality candidates than we could on our own: 36%
  • It allows us to expand and contract our talent acquisition efforts as needed: 32%
  • It avoids the high cost of large internal TA teams: 18%
  • It allows us to focus on an enhanced candidate and hiring manager experience: 14%

Are you hiring more interim (contingent) talent now than you did in 2023?

  • We are hiring more contingent talent now: 36%
  • We hired more contingent talent in 2023: 64%

What is the top reason a candidate would take one job over another?

  • More money: 54%
  • Better culture: 41%
  • More of a challenge: 5%

Do you have clear messaging on why candidates should choose your company over a competitor?

  • Yes to a great extent: 36%
  • Yes to some extent: 50%
  • No: 14%

What best describes the way the HR function is viewed in your organization?

  • Core strategic business partner to the C-suite: 55%
  • Fulfills the talent mandates set forth by the business units, not a strategy partner: 45%

When volume hiring, how important is a diverse candidate pool?

  • Extremely important, we mandate a diverse pool during each engagement: 36%
  • Important, but we don’t require diversity percentage mandates: 64%
  • Not important: 0%

To what extent would you agree that your organization has a robust internal mobility program?

  • To a great extent: 22%
  • To some extent: 73%
  • We don’t have an internal mobility program: 5%

About Hudson RPO

Hudson RPO is a leading global provider of flexible and scalable recruitment solutions. We service all levels of client organizations, from entry-level to the C-suite, focusing on mid-market and enterprise-level organizations worldwide. Taking a consultative and collaborative approach, we partner with talent acquisition, HR, and procurement leaders to build diverse, high-impact teams and drive business success. Learn more at


Hudson RPO
Tracy Kurschner
612 309-3957 / [email protected]


How RPO partnerships help leaders deliver an agile recruitment function

How RPO partnerships help leaders deliver an agile recruitment function

Peter Simandl

A “Support Function” RPO allows in-house recruiters to be
more strategic and business focused

Your organization relies on you to deliver top talent in a way that enables business success. To best achieve this, consider a “Support Function” Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partnership. This solution allows the perfect approach to your Talent Acquisition (TA) function through a hybrid of in-house TA and an outsourced team, which enables you to scale resources as the business needs and create the agility required to be successful in today’s uncertain market.  

A Support Function RPO can take over necessary, but time-consuming tasks, such as sourcing candidates, handling complex interview scheduling, and overseeing administrative tasks associated with recruiting and pre-boarding talent.  

Consider the ways a Support Function RPO could help drive improved outcomes in your TA function and the overall business:  

  • Sourcing qualified candidates (both active and passive job seekers): You’ll be presented with talent who best fit the role – no more sifting through non-relevant resumes.
  • Positive candidate and hiring manager experience: RPO partners can provide a consistent and positive experience for both candidates and hiring managers, which will help improve your employer-of-choice status and convince top talent to join your company.
  • Elevate your in-house recruiters: With functional tasks handled for them, your recruiters will be enabled to engage hiring managers and the business in a new and more strategic way, driving better outcomes. Spend your time on sharing strategic market intelligence and building deeper relationships that result in improved talent selection and onboarding of new talent.  
  • Geographic breadth: No matter where your organization needs qualified candidates, a Support Function RPO can provide you with on-the-ground intelligence and connections to quickly ramp up teams and get to business faster and more efficiently.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I): Studies show that a diverse workforce is more productive and efficient. Your RPO partner can deliver a diverse slate of candidates for every engagement.  
We’d love to give you a no-cost, no-commitment consultation to find the best approach for your organizational and talent needs. Contact Peter Simandl to start the conversation today.

Peter Simandl

Vice President, Talent Acquisition Solutions

Peter joined Hudson RPO in 2023 as a key member of our North American team. For more than 20 years, Peter has worked with CHRO’s and Heads of Talent Acquisition building recruitment solutions that deliver agility, scalability, and business results from exploratory stage to fully functional. If you are interested in exploring what’s possible, please contact me!

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