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Finding and retaining project managers

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23 October 2007

With 3,400 GCC projects worth $2.4 trillion and fierce competition for staff, ESI International says time has come to think of more than salaries.

Strategic and tactical tips on how companies can recruit and retain technical and engineering professionals in the increasingly competitive Middle East market will be outlined by a leading expert next month.

The region is not exempt from a shortage of project managers and engineers hampering industries worldwide. "Pressure is growing as companies compete with each other in an increasingly limited skills pool and costs rise as they poach personnel from each other," said Raed S. Haddad, Vice President of Corporate Programmes for ESI International, the leading provider of project management training and business analysis.

Haddad has extensive first hand project management experience on numerous international programmes and is currently responsible for implementation of all project management training curricula for ESI's clients.

"The booming Arabian Gulf is witnessing an unprecedented scale of construction projects across the whole civil and industrial spectrum," said Haddad, who will be speaking on the attraction and retention of key personnel at the Middle East HR Summit that takes place from 4 to 8 November 2007 at the National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

According to database company Proleads, the total number of active projects taking place in the Gulf Co-operation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is close to 3,400 with a total combined value exceeding $2.4 trillion," Haddad added. "Civil engineering and infrastructure projects of all kinds lead the way with a staggering 2,081 projects with a combined value of $1.3 trillion alone.

"The sheer scale of all this activity is putting severe strain on recruiters scouring the world for engineers and managers to run the projects. For some companies it seems that competing simply means offering longer contracts and higher pay."

But Haddad believes that the time is right for far sighted Middle East companies to adopt alternative strategies. "When you ask most CEOs what is the most important asset in their company they will invariably say 'people.' Most people simply roll their eyes when they hear that," he said.

"But there is a shift going on in dependence on human capital based on the worldwide shortage of top talent. More and more organisations are identifying strategies to develop their employees and potential employees. Programmes to develop individuals that will improve their lifestyles raise the bar beyond that of the dollars they are paid."

Certain commentators believe that the Middle East is not ready for these ideas, but Haddad disagrees: "Industry perceptions were exactly the same within the United States 10 years ago. If businesses in the region are to survive beyond the next decade, they had better start examining these issues now."

Media Contact
Chris Mullinger
Senior Consultant
Shamal Marketing Communications
PO Box 24459
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel.: +971 50 658 5843
Fax: +971 4 312 4313

About ESI International
ESI International provides professional business education and consulting services over a wide range of subjects, including project management and business analysis. ESI training courses have helped some of the most successful companies in Europe and the Middle East to achieve and surpass their organisational goals.

Accredited by the Project Management Institute, ESI's portfolio of more than 60 courses offers unique foundations in project management and business analysis methodology and best practices. ESI is also a Charter Endorsed Education Provider of the International Institute of Business Analysis.

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