Covid-19 and the lockdown are causing many people to re-evaluate things in their life. People have been impacted in different ways to this crisis. There’s a lot of soul – searching going on as we all try to establish what our new normal might look like. I have been doing my introspection and have come up with my tips for a brighter and more sustainable future. I’m just sharing these to help others who are currently concerned what their future outlook might be.
Since the global lock-down began, my mind has become restless and has gone into overdrive with all sorts of compelling questions popping into my head. Noting the calamitous responses by Western countries such as the US, UK, Spain and Italy in handling the pandemic, the theme of leadership has taken centre stage. Observing the leadership competency and style of respective countries across the world, the following traits are evident in countries such as South Korea and New Zealand who have managed to be on the front foot in the fight against COVID-19.
· Humility and Respect — they demonstrated a total commitment to the people of their country and led from the front to ensure trust and integrity
· Compassion — they understood that their people were worried about their health, their jobs and took appropriate action to reassure them
· Clear strategic direction — they took early action against the pandemic and listened to the scientific advice taking a multi-agency approach by engaging all parts of their public health infrastructure
· Secure communication — they spoke to their people with honesty and kept them up to date regularly informing them of what they wanted them to do to ensure their health and safety during the pandemic
In the absence of a vaccine against the disease, we are journeying into uncharted water of uncertainty. As most Western leaders continue to fumble their way through the pandemic and erode their trust and integrity, we need to start focusing on cultivating the leaders for a post-COVID-19 world. For companies, this is critically important as we will require a new type of leadership that is future-focused, and committed to energizing their employees.
The following infographic summarizes the shift that needs to take place between the leadership of the past and the future.
We need to ensure we have the right people in leadership positions that will take companies and their employees forward in this new world that will be driven by a level of disruption we will probably never see again for a very long time.
Below are five questions that interviewers must ask to understand the essence of a future leader.
How would you go about fostering a sense of community in your company or team?
What to look for: If they say they’ll create a family atmosphere, they have the wrong mindset. Your employees are not your children but fully formed adults. They should focus on how they will go about bringing people together and creating a special bond between the company and employees. If your staff are happy, your customers will be satisfied as well.
Do you think authenticity matters at work?
What to look for: Authenticity requires an enormous amount of transparency, so their core principles need to be robust in the first place. Consistency matters so they must ensure that they are excellent in the good times and in times of a crisis.
If you were offered this job, what would your reaction be?
What to look for: Their answer should reflect their true self. They should say that they are honoured to be given the role and the responsibility that accompanies the position. If they say, they will look forward to the challenge that’s not enough. As above, they have to own it in the good and bad times putting their people first.
How do you approach change management?
What to look for: Change is coming, and change will happen fast in the wake of COVID-19. Change is scary to people because it’s not guaranteed to be a success. They shouldn’t say to employees that ‘you need to embrace change’. They need to be transparent and honest in their communication — don’t withhold the truth from employees. They need to deliver their message in a step by step, bite-sized, easy to digest manner backed by a solid communications plan. They need to acknowledge the things that aren’t working and spelling out exactly how they’ll be fixed.
How do you ensure your employees don’t suffer burnout?
What to look for: With mental health a vital issue amid the pandemic, mental health is going to gain more traction than ever before. Leaders must understand the impact that positive mental health has at work. For this to prevail, a deep dive is required to understand the following — do people enjoy their roles, how is the organizational culture, and how is the relationship with their line managers? You need to identify the root causes of burn out. Employees need to feel connected to the work they do. If you have a purpose-driven and engaging culture, you’re on the right path.
The brave new world requires a new type of leader that truly understands the spirit of the organization and the people in them. It is so important that we recover trust and integrity in our organizations that have been displaced during the chaos of the pandemic. We need to start that process by selecting future-focused leaders.
Originally published on 4 June 2020: https://medium.com/@zabeonline_82980/5-leadership-interview-questions-to-ask-in-a-post-covid-19-world-a731ace51d51
I was recently speaking to someone who said to me that we are living in a real-life disaster movie. I said yes, it is surreal, but we are in a situation we never anticipated. What makes the COVID-19 situation surreal is that back in February 2020 as coronavirus cases began escalating in Wuhan, China and other countries in the SE region, most of the Western world labelled it like the flu that would quickly pass. Only in March, Western governments began to take notice as cases started to arrive on their doorsteps, and by that time, people started getting sick. Suddenly, the situation was much more complicated and threatening to life. It was no longer a Chinese virus!
Fast forward to today, and we are witnessing a devastating and terrifying event that is shocking us all to our core. The loss of life has been colossal with no let-up in the global death toll. In an interview with the BBC, eminent medical researcher Sir Jeremy Farrar said that the UK was on course to have the highest numbers of deaths, exceeding Italy – that is quite a sobering thought. According to experts, our only way out of this is a viable vaccine, but even that is 12 to 18 months away. In the meantime, though, a mixed approach of testing, contact tracing, isolating the infected and sporadic periods of lockdown are recognized as interim solutions.
As the world economy grinds to a halt, there are some harsh lessons for us all to learn, and we need to learn them fast. It feels like the world has finally broken, and it’s collectively up to us to help fix it. What is happening to the world right now should be seen as its performance review. It should be the defining moment that a mirror was held up to the world, and the world saw how fragile and vulnerable it is. For us to thrive as humankind, we need to change our behaviours, and we can do that by changing the way we live. We would be foolish to think that we can go back to being as it was before the pandemic. Expect changes to come at the government level, company level and at an individual level. Here are some areas where I think we could get quick wins to live more sustainably and responsibly.
Companies will need to review their business models: Do companies require their employees to work from their office, or can their jobs be done just as productively by working from home (WFH)? Many companies in this pandemic that have usually resisted WFH before the crisis are inadvertently finding out that there are economic and employee engagement benefits of WFH for them.
Brand: We have seen the ugly side of companies during this pandemic. You only need to browse through the various online articles and news stories to understand the lack of compassion and poor judgement exercised by senior leaders in companies. Companies run the risk of negatively impacting their brand. Here’s a handy resource that names and shames employers in how they treat employees.
Cleanliness: People are realizing that they are not as clean as they once thought they were. People are going to be paranoid about their cleanliness and cleaning regimes from now on.
Climate: The lockdowns across the world saw a dramatic reduction in CO2 levels globally. In Venice, the water became cleaner, the smog in China’s polluting industrial hubs reduced, people’ drove their cars less. COVID-19 has given governments a lot to think about who all have ambitious targets to reduce their CO2 levels. Surprisingly, it has shown that with intervention, climate change can be curtailed. This will be a headache for policymakers as they review their plans.
Despite all that we have lost because of COVID-19, my feelings are turning to hope. Hope for a better future for ourselves and future generations. The biggest gift humankind can give itself is to learn from the mistakes, and to improve upon the weaknesses that have been shockingly exposed during the crisis. To find the right answers, we need to ask the right questions – profound questions! Who exactly are we, and what sort of people do we want to be? What kind of world do we want to live in? These fundamental questions will help us reveal the solutions to the success of our existence.
Western countries are lagging in their battle against COVID – 19. In almost all of the countries in the Western world, not enough testing is being done, healthcare professionals do not have the adequate equipment, lack of or no contact tracing of COVID – 19 cases, and failure of the general public to observe social distancing properly. There is a sense that Western countries are out of their depth.
This week we have seen the deaths of two teenagers from COVID–19 in the UK – one fatality was 13 and did not have an underlying health condition. As a Brit, I am struggling to understand why the UK response has been so lacking given our relatively good record of dealing with major crises and incidents.
With global confirmed cases approaching 900,000, I’ve been reflecting on some of the responses governments across the world have put in place to deal with COVID–19. While most countries in the East, especially in the Far East have responded impressively and mobilized resources at short notice, what is still lacking in the West is a coordinated and more aggressive response overall. The battle against COVID-19 must be fought on several fronts. What we need to see all governments do is:
- Ensure medical specialists treating COVID-19 patients have adequate equipment and appropriate facilities for treatment
- Expand the level of testing of frontline healthcare staff, and increase testing of the general public through dedicated testing centres or home testing kits
- COVID–19 testing of employees in companies that have more than 250 employees.
More contact tracing through enhanced surveillance of COVID–19 cases. South Korean have been quite successful at this through their dedicated app. There are critics to this approach as it raises privacy concerns, but this is like wartime, and desperate times call for drastic measures
- Better and consistent enforcement of the lockdown protocol to guarantee the success of social distancing
- Government stimulus packages for the aviation sector and airlines. Potential job losses at Swissport, Dnata, Menzies Aviation, Virgin would be devastating for the world economy. We will need them once COVID -19 recedes to help us get back to reality and reuniting people that are currently stuck overseas and are living apart from their relatives
- Rigorous monitoring of passengers at seaport, airports and transit points to serve as the first line of defence. Because we are about a year away from a COVID-19 vaccine, this monitoring should be indefinite as we are expecting a second wave of COVID–19 in the winter months, albeit with lesser ferocity
- Schools should remain closed until the infection rate drops significantly
There is still much that we do not know about COVID-19, but Western governments need to be on the front foot, and they will only be able to do that if they adopt the best practices of other countries that have been successful in their COVID – 19 response.
The COVID – 19 crisis has brought the entire world to its knees. What started in the city of Wuhan in China in December 2019 has quickly escalated into a global pandemic that is testing the social fabric of societies across the world.
As the crisis escalates, perplexingly, we are seeing startling differences in the way the crisis is being managed. Eastern governments have taken the aggressive approach with early intervention, extensive testing, mandatory lockdowns (as in China) as well as rapid upscaling of critical infrastructure (as seen in China with the construction of two hospitals in 2 weeks). Western governments, on the other hand, have operated at a pedestrian pace and have been laissez-faire in their approach, which has resulted in COVID – 19 cases spiralling out of control.
It is in these challenging times we must keep the human spirit alive. Below are 12 quotes that put the current crisis into perspective, and offer some insight into how to cope during this time of duress.
“Reduce transmission. Do not just let this fire burn.” – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa
“The COVID – 19 outbreak is having serious consequences for factory and gig workers, and global supply chains. Let’s learn the lessons of the 08-09 financial crisis and design income support that working families and businesses need.” – Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Federation
“Social distancing is our current best defence against COVID-19.” – Michelle A. Williams, Dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA
“A significant proportion of the global population could be infected” – Professor Yik-Ying TEO, Dean, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore
“Over-reacting is better than non-reacting” – Xifeng Wu, MD, PhD, Dean and Professor of School of Public Health, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.
“Focused, effective communication and shared trust are essential.” – Landon Myer, epidemiologist, University of Cape Town
“If we continue with business as usual, this will blow up really quickly.” – Michal Caspi Tal, PhD, Instructor at Stanford Medical School
“I genuinely believe the responsible thing to do right now with the Coronavirus is to stay home from work, so we don’t all spread it. One boring month working from home and watching Netflix inside after hours is worth it if we can slow down the spread of the virus like China did. It’s time for us to be responsible adults and own what is happening. The virus is not something to be feared; it’s something to contain as soon as possible through responsible action.” – Tim Denning
“In this information age, fear and concern around health issues like the Coronavirus can be amplified. It is more important than ever to check in with yourself and assess how you are doing – not only physically, but also mentally.” – SHRM
“If I were in office today. I’d pick up the phone to Washington and seek a meeting of G20 leaders, Health Ministers & Finance Ministers. Markets need to see the world’s 20 biggest economies are acting together in solidarity and will use stimulus as needed to overcome Coronavirus.” – Kevin Rudd, 26th (Former) Prime Minister of Australia
“If the Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is the lengths some people will go to when desperate. Next time you want to judge boat people, refugees, migrants fleeing war-torn land – remember we fought over toilet paper.” – Fraz Butt
Let’s hope that things take a step in a positive direction, and we can get on top of this crisis soon. We stand to lose a lot if we do not work together collaboratively, compassionately, and in solidarity as a global community.
Whatever you do, look after yourself, your friends and your loved ones.
Besides being a passionate talent acquisition professional, I am also an avid movie fan. I’m in total admiration of the actors and actresses that portray the roles scripted for them and the directors that make the scripts come to life. Whenever I come across a movie that has relevance to me in my career, I’m always eager to see it at the first given opportunity. So, if like me, you are interested in how movies deal with the work-related subject matter, you may want to check out the following titles.
The premise: The movie features Mae’s character (Emma Watson) who successfully secures a dream job at a technology company called the Circle. Things get off to a flying start in the beginning but she soon discovers that the company is up to no good and that its products may adversely impact humanity. She becomes the whistleblower and the chief architect of the company’s downfall.
Takeaway: I see this movie as a bit of an essay on the tech sector, revealing the prevalence of corrupt practices, including weak corporate governance and overbearing leadership. The company’s products pose serious ethical concerns around privacy which kind of reminded me of the Facebook privacy issues and Uber during the Travis Kalanick years.
The premise: Ben Whittaker (played by Robert De Niro) is a recent retiree who quickly struggles to deal with life post-retirement. He spots an opportunity to get back into work and applies successfully to become a senior intern at an online fashion company founded and run by Jules Ostin (played by Anne Hathaway).
Takeaway: What was pleasing about this movie was that this was the first time a ‘talent acquisition team’ is featured in a movie set. We see the candidate experience inflow. Indeed, Ben’s first interaction and interviews are with several members of the TA team, which suggests that the company in the movie probably has a robust interview and selection process. The film also raised some critical issues about work-life balance. In the film, Jules’s husband is a stay at home dad, allowing Jules to pursue her career often to his frustration. The movie also reassuringly tackles the issue of ageism in the workplace. Instead of casting aside senior citizens, it proactively puts together a program of inclusivity to reintroduce senior citizens back into work and utilize their experience. Probably suggests that the company in the movie values diversity and inclusion. In this movie, Ben helps Jules to reinvigorate both her and the company to overcome operational issues.
The premise: Dane Jensen (played by Gerard Butler) is a headhunter operating in the cut-throat world of agency recruitment. His job is, even more, challenging driven by his desire to outperform his peers, own the company while fulfilling the needs of his family – thus creating a clash of priorities.
Takeaway: Lays bare the inner workings of agency recruitment. It reveals the tactics – often underhand and unethical that recruiters use to win jobs and place candidates. A ‘win at any cost’ approach shows an industry culture that is incompatible with work-life balance. Agency recruitment isn’t for everyone. Struggling to juggle work and family life, Dane is fired from his job and then starts his own company working from home to take back control of his life.
The premise: Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) works for an HR consulting company that specializes in terminating employees on behalf of employers. He travels up and down the country and pleasingly collecting air miles in the process. He enjoys what he does but soon comes across issues that threaten his lifestyle by the emergence of a love interest, and a new hire which prompts him to reassess his life.
Takeaway: Firing people is unpleasant. Sadly, whenever a company goes through a rough patch, it’s human capital that has to pay the price through layoffs. This movie details that process and the issues that companies have to deal with to remain profitable. The movie also chronicles the life of an individual (Ryan Bingham) who seems content hopping from one city to another doing a compassionate job. How happy would you be always travelling for your career?
The premise: Based on Chris Gardner’s true story (played by Will Smith). The movie depicts a struggling salesman taking custody of his son and the immense difficulties he faces in pursuing a professional career.
Takeaway: A hugely inspiring and motivational movie that reveals in spectacular detail the struggles and stresses we face as human beings —an emotionally charged account of the worst that can happen to any capable person. Chris Gardner was a phenomenal hero of his own life facing one challenge and setback after another. In the end, he prevailed through his commitment and self- belief.
The premise: Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are two salesmen who find themselves struggling in their careers because of the digital age. They somehow manage to get internships at Google, where they compete against a talented bunch of youngsters to secure employment.
Takeaway: while critics referred to this movie as being a Google documentary, it’s really about how one needs to adapt themselves in a changing labour market that is being disrupted by technology.
The premise: Jennifer Anniston plays a CEO of a family-run company who threatens to shut down his brother Clay’s branch (played by T.J.Miller). In an attempt to persuade her to change her mind, Clay throws a lavish Christmas party to land a big client to save the day, but things do not go as he intended.
Takeaway: Both funny and rude, this movie is about the challenges involved in running a family business. It also highlights the importance of company culture. In the film, we see the client rejecting Clay’s business proposal because he doesn’t like the culture of his company. The conclusion from this is that you think you are the best company in the world, but if your culture isn’t right to those outside the company, you run the risk of damaging its reputation and profitability.
The premise: In Horrible Bosses 1 (2011), three friends concoct plans to murder their awful managers to secure their happiness. In Horrible Bosses 2 (2014), the three friends featured in the previous movie start their own business but get into problems when an investor cheats them, prompting them to plot revenge against their tormentor.
Takeaway: You’ll relate to this movie if you ever worked for a passive-aggressive boss, a micromanager or just plain unpleasant to work for. It’s a light-hearted look at how three individuals driven to despair by their managers are desperate to ensure their happiness.
The premise: Andy Campbell (played by Charlie Day) inadvertently causes the dismissal of another teacher Strickland (played by Ice Cube). This act leads to Strickland challenging Andy to an after school fight.
Takeaway: Shows the impact of weak leadership trickling down to employees. You’ll end up with disharmony among your employees and a workforce that is isn’t engaged. In this particular story, the inability of leadership to manage an employee relations issue results in a fight between two teachers. Poor governance and a lack of concern for employee welfare are strong themes here.
The premise: Focuses on the life of Alexander (played by Ed Oxenbould) and his family. They each face back to back setbacks. He ends up thinking if he has somehow managed to curse the family.
Takeaway: Ben Cooper (played by Steve Carell) and Kelly Cooper (played by Jennifer Garner) are both working parents who face struggles in their professional lives. In the movie, Ben has the weirdest interview experience when he has no childcare; he has to take his toddler son with him to the interview. His wife Kelly, who works for a publishing company unintentionally changes the words in a children’s book which result in the book being full of rude words. Despite their individual misfortune, Ben actually ends up impressing in his interview and gets the job whilst Kelly’s mistake actually ends of benefitting her company. The movie is a reminder that we are all not perfect at the end of the day and that sometimes it’s ok to have a bad day and you can’t do anything to change it.
So these are my favourite career-related movies. If you get the chance, I encourage you to watch them as most of them are comedies so you’ll enjoy them. Happy viewing!
Image Credit: Manu Mohan
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates and has witnessed modernisation on a grand scale since the 1990s. It has weathered the financial storms during the height of the financial crisis to re-establish itself as a prime destination for multinationals looking to establish a presence in the region and beyond. The United Arab Emirates is part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and can be best defined as a regional intergovernmental political and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Having lived and worked in Dubai for nearly four years, since coming back to the UK I have benefited both culturally and career wise. My time there was interesting, enjoyable, challenging and enriching. Having also had the opportunity to travel to other countries within the GCC, I have found that there are several common themes that are prevalent throughout the six countries. These are:
The GGC leads the way in job creation: As the economies and populations of the GCC grow, so does demand on civil infrastructure, education, healthcare, housing so this results in job opportunities across multiple sectors.
Fewer decision makers: This is especially the case with regional companies/family conglomerates where it is often the CEO and/or Chairman who is the sole decision maker so decisions are reached faster rather than going through multiple layers of approval.
Faster business cycles: Due to faster decision making, projects can take shape much faster so a company’s hiring needs can be established quicker, creating job opportunities and transactions are completed faster.
Career development: Economies in the GCC are still developing so this means better prospects to move both laterally and vertically in your career. If you are somebody with between 5 and 10 years’ experience with a good educational background, you are going to be in demand so expect calls from recruiters.
Personal and professional development: Even if you decide to spend only a few years in the GCC or commit to a longer duration, you should expect to enhance your skills set as you gain exposure to prestigious projects and working alongside a multinational workforce means a more culturally diverse experience. Many expats who have worked in the GCC go on to work in other regions such as Asia Pacific and North America as their GCC experience is considered very valuable and transferable so if you choose to go to the GCC region, you will certainly be adding value to both your life and career.
Weather: Although it is stifling hot during summer months (mainly May to October), when it does cool down there are ample opportunities to pursue outdoor pursuits. Plus, it’s really nice waking up to a sunny bright blue clear skies.
From crazy interview questions at Google to nerve-shredding interviews on the BBC’s Apprentice, the interview process is a tense and daunting experience. While it is rare that candidates will be subjected to this level of scrutiny, what is certain is that interviews can either bring out the very best or worst in candidates. Here are seven bizarre behaviours demonstrated by candidates before, during and after the interview process.
The candidate is asked about motivations
Interviewer: So, what got you interested in this position?
Candidate: My parents told me to apply!
The outcome of this interview was not favourable. Despite the candidate ticking all the boxes on paper, the interviewer stated that this single response resulted in the candidate being rejected. Ill thought out answers is a sure-fire to destroy interview success.
Turning up at the interview at the wrong time
In this example, a candidate turned up at his interview at BST (British Standard Time) when he was supposed to turn up at the meeting at CET (Central European Time). The Hiring Manager wasn’t too happy about this and waited for the candidate for around 30 minutes. It wasn’t until the recruiter contacted the candidate on his mobile that it emerged that the candidate thought the interview was BST when in the confirmation email it was stated that the meeting was CET. When arranging interviews between client and candidates overseas, communication is essential. It’s always good to double-check and if one is pedantic triple check.
Telling a Hiring Manager during a telephone interview, they are not interested in the job.
In this example, the candidate had a full, transparent discussion with the head-hunter, and his motivations and aspirations were known. When it came to the telephone interview, the candidate told the Hiring Manager that they were not interested in the job but wanted to have a general discussion. So as a head-hunter when asking a candidate about their interest in a particular position, it is a good idea to ask them a questions along the lines of “on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in this job” or “what is your level of interest going to be in a few weeks”. That will allow a better understanding of their exact level of interest.
No contact after the interview
In this example, the candidate interviewed with the client with positive feedback with the client inviting the candidate for a second (face to face) stage interview. The recruiter contacted the candidate for a meeting to make the necessary arrangements but despite repeated attempts was unable to get hold of the candidate via mobile email, text. Result = radio silence and even more strange was that this particular candidate was still active on a social media site.
Candidate attending another call at the same time of telephone interview
While it is understandable that unforeseen circumstances might prevent communication between the client and candidate, all other calls must be put on hold. The client has blocked out time to interview so common courtesy should be extended.
Quiet place during a telephone interview.
One of the golden rules in telephone interviewing is that a candidate must be in a friendly, quiet private place when speaking to a recruiter or client. Background noise or a lack of privacy will hamper the ability to give reliable answers and jeopardise chances of further progression in the interview process.
Failing to disclose information to the recruiter or client
One of the pet hates of head – hunters and clients is a candidate failing to update them on issues that may be critical to their candidacy. Common problems include not being transparent about salary expectations, failing to inform of competing offers, interviews with other companies, interview availability. A little foresight will go a long way to avoiding problems further in the process.
Let’s face it, the West in the doldrums. High unemployment, high inflation, social and political unrest and ailing infrastructure are all common features and will be for the foreseeable future according to many analysts. Western governments won’t admit it but there is an analysis paralysis of what to do to turn economic fortunes around. In particular, the economic uncertainty in the UK is now an increasing factor why many British residents are opting to pack their bags in return for a brighter future overseas. Here are five reasons why you might choose to accept that overseas job offer:
The economy :
A lack of investment, stagnant job creation and an ailing industrial sector are causing alarm bells to ring in key government and business circles. The cost of doing business in the UK has gone up considerably with fuel costing companies a fortune and as a result many energy intensive industries are suffering substantially. Tata Steel for example has not made a profit in Europe for several years and SABIC Europe, backed by its Saudi parent is scaling back operations in the UK just to stay competitive. Also, the UK has one of the highest levels of personal household debt in the world. If things don’t improve, many companies will disappear altogether.
Socio – political issues:
The immigration debate in the UK is fuelling multiple issues on both sides of the fence including an increased hostility towards immigrants and certain religious groups , rise of far right groups, and a growing sentiment in public that immigration needs to be controlled. Some analysts have even linked immigration with the financial pressures facing the NHS and public services. Whilst that is anecdotal, a rising population has added to operational pressures on the NHS with the institution facing a staffing crisis and serious reputational damage due to a number of high profile failings across hospitals in the UK which continue to undermine confidence in the NHS. Education too is facing significant challenges with the cost of going to college/university rising and more and more school leavers thinking twice about whether to be saddled with a lifetime of debt or take up an apprenticeship or start their own business. The UK will fail to produce quality talent that companies in the UK so badly need if the rising cost of higher education is not addressed.
A common question the UK tax payer is asking is “where is our money being spent?” Poor quality roads, ageing rail infrastructure and a lack of housing are putting pressure on the Government to reduce the deficit but at the same time making vital investment that is required to sustain thriving, modern cities. A report commissioned by housing charity Shelter stated that young people now need to save money for 30 years in order to put down a deposit for a house. This all does not bode well for future generations, and will lead to a disenfranchised electorate.
Better career opportunities:
Go east if you want better career opportunities and an improved quality of life. Ask many expats and that’s probably what they will tell you. The east is creating more jobs and at a faster rate, and governments are spending freely on infrastructure which has created stupendous levels of economic growth. For example, it is believed that the GCC’s current rail infrastructure project will spawn a whole new railway services industry in the Middle East. Similarly, rising populations in the GCC region have spawned a growing healthcare industry in the region. If you choose to work in a tax free country like the UAE, Saudi Arabia or Qatar you have the opportunity to save money either through salary or bonuses (which still exists in the current climate), something that is otherwise a struggle in the UK.
This year March was one of the coldest months in living memory and weather experts have recently declared that British summers are likely to be wet for the next decade. British weather is and will be unpleasant for many years to come. This is not good news for people who like a bit of sunshine in their lives, and want to stay healthy.
After spending several wonderful years in Dubai, the cultural experience was vast. What I learnt during my time living and working there is that now I have a better appreciation for and understanding of different cultures. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures where east and west co – exist peacefully. In a business, context, I have now become a more globally minded individual – having a better understanding of how business is conducted in a global hub like Dubai. Culture has certainly enriched my life.
The decision to accept an overseas job offer can be a daunting one for most. Some people like a sense of adventure and don’t think twice about making a move whilst others remain conservative about such a prospect. Whatever you decide to do though, make sure it makes financial sense for you and above all take your time to figure out whether or not you are comfortable living and being part of another country. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.