New skills required for top seat positions in ICT

Aug 20, 2014 |

Ayman Haddad and Abbed Anabtawi of executive search specialist DHR International, share some tips on C-level recruitment trends in the technology sector in the Middle East region.

IT and Technology providers have to frequently reinvent themselves to keep up with competition and consumer demand, while the shape of the telecom operators is changing. This has put a spin on what was typically required from a chief executive officer, a chief information officer, an IT director, or a chief strategy officer. The emergence of chief data officers and social network chief information officers is something we are currently witnessing due to the fundamental changes taking place in the sector.

Due to the convergence of technology, the IT and technology role should not be the sole responsibility of the CIO alone. Because technology has gained a pivotal role in every aspect of business, across various organizations, all members of the senior management team should be able to understand technology and how it affects their organization in order to maximize value.

At DHR International, we have learned that successful executives in the region are engrossed in the culture of the country and their organization; are individuals who can lead by example and demonstrate deep domain expertise, in addition to leadership skills. Successful executives work to create legacies.

Professionals with a strong understanding of the local markets and relevant regional experience are most sought after for senior management roles. In the Telecom sector specifically, huge nationalization initiatives have recently taken place in the region and this has impacted the opportunity for expatriates to occupy the “top seat” position.

The Middle East’s IT spending is projected to grow to $32 billion in 2014, according to research companies. Furthermore, the region is expected to post the world’s strongest mobile data traffic growth at 77% CAGR to 2017.

Regional governments are focusing on expanding their investment in national technology infrastructure with the aim of building a stronger economy and becoming top global players in advanced technology. The appetite to invest and grow is here and the region has the required capital to do so, which is appealing to top talent.

In addition, emerging market exposure provides executives with invaluable skills in learning how to penetrate new markets and how to compete in a different type of dynamic than in Europe or the US or even Asia. Someone with a few years of senior management experience in the Middle East would have a significant advantage when going back home or moving to a different market.

Emerging market exposure is becoming more and more valuable globally and is now being considered by organizations around the world when making senior hires. Due to the growth of the technology sector in the region and the demand for new skills and new roles at the C-level, the Middle East is uniquely positioned to offer excellent career prospects to locals and expats alike.

Ayman Haddad is managing director Middle East and North Africa, DHR International. Abbed Anabtawi is executive vice president Middle East and North Africa, DHR International.

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