This month we spotlight entrepreneur, blogger “UAEtopia’ and motivational public speaker and commentator, Abdulmattlib Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Next Level Emiratisation Consultancy.
Abdulmattlib is a contributor to Clo-me and he always presents lively debate regarding Emiratisation and Corporate matters.
1. Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
I am born, raised and educated in the UAE. My parents were well travelled and I believe that they had a huge part to play in developing my ability to be culturally sensitive and open to the cultures of the world. Carrying a diverse ethnic background (Saudi, Persian and East African) has also helped me to adapt very well to the growth this country has seen in both corporate aspects and its society.
I come from a small reserved local community in Dubai where I still live and find my own ‘piece of solitude’ when I return back from a hard day at work. I was educated in a public school where English was only taught as a subject from fourth grade. Later during my years of higher education in university I learnt to appreciate my parents efforts to encourage me to take up reading as a hobby. My late father would buy me English magazines every weekend, and also lend me the books he used to read. These were mainly books on history and politics. You could say that I had a fun filled and innocent childhood, but later was thrown into the deepend after I graduated from school. Shockingly, I experienced unemployment, and I remember going on a door-to-door job hunting expedition in the industrial areas of Bur Dubai and Deira which were thriving business clusters at the time. I took up all types of work from freelancing in a magic show for the Dubai Festival when I was 19, to working in exhibitions and Sales. My career really took off after landing a role in a large catering company in Dubai. Later on I was hired by HSBC bank where I worked for 7 years as a Trader in the Global Markets.
In 2006, I decided to risk the good pay, and the prestige and security that came with the job and started Next Level, a small recruitment firm that focuses on a niche market called Emiratisation and the rest as they say is history. In my capacity, I do everything from managing a team of recruiters and associate consultants, meet employers, interview job-seekers, give lectures and workshops in universities, speak in conferences and write articles.
2. How would you describe the culture of your business?
The culture of my business is very family like in every sense. I have realised that for anyone we hire they will have to learn to adjust and adapt to this culture no matter how aggressive or professional they may be. In retrospect, I think no other culture of work would suit our type of business as we are required to deal with our job seekers with trust, sincerity and kindness. I am very big on creating a ‘learning culture’, and I consider our firm as a hybrid between an ‘Entrepreneurial/Learning firm’. I take every opportunity to get the team learning from simple Youtube videos, team ‘huddles’, to workshops.
3. How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company?
Very easy, we are a small firm therefore even an intern gets to work very close to the founder of the company.
4. What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
Business confidence is a big challenge, and it is a mindset that companies and people within them need to change. Business confidence determines everything else happening in our economy really.
5. What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements.
Modelling the skills of some of the successful business leaders and CEOs have, would be something I would love to learn. It could be anything from Leadership skills to growing your business.