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‘The Middle East isn’t just a chance for a stint in the sun’

Claire Beasley, Joint managing director of Court & Spark Consulting

Research from Dubai indicates that 80% of people working there are ex-pats. Similarly fast economic growth in the neighbouring states of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait makes it clear that relocation to the Middle East is an attractive prospect.

While the rest of the Western world sees multichannel as the great retail revolution, it’s the malls in the Middle East that keep the heart of retail beating while online stays in the shade. Retailers in the market hold UK operators in high regard and are prepared to invest to bring the right talent into the market - as I found on a recent trip to the region.

It’s apparent that they see the investment as a two-way street, as Middle East retailers look for candidates willing to commit to long-term relocation: this isn’t just a chance for a stint in the sun to avoid the ravages of recession.

While the region offers an enviable lifestyle, it might also test the commitment of the candidate’s family, with spouses unlikely to be able to work and the added costs of schooling and housing.

Despite these hurdles, the positive feedback from the ex-pats and retailers that we met during our trip indicates that life in the Middle East doesn’t get any hotter for career and lifestyle opportunities.

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