This year, the University of Manchester Middle East Centre’s Annual Career Networking event was a virtual occasion bringing together a range of senior speakers and corporate representatives, along with students and alumni from the University, based in the region. More than 200 people attended the event which was designed to share collective knowledge and insights into the challenges and opportunities of the current job market, trends in hiring and recruitment, the skills in demand and related career topics.
Beyond the initial panel discussion and interactive Q&A, participants had the opportunity to network with each other and to meet in dedicated virtual chat rooms hosted by the companies supporting the event and supported by a team member from the Middle East Centre. A total of 14 leading companies from a variety of industry sectors participated, with senior representatives in roles including talent acquisition, recruitment and HR, Emiratisation, graduate programmes, and commercial roles. Students and alumni could visit the chat rooms of their choice and network with company representatives to learn more about the industry, company culture, employment and what they look for in candidates.
A lively and interactive panel discussion was led by Ramy Bayyour, Regional Director for the Middle East at CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development), who was joined by panelists - Tim Shelton, Digital Transformation & Innovation Lead – Middle East, Arcadis; James Tucker - Talent Acquisition Leader - Africa, Middle East & India, Nissan; Lama Gebara – HR Director MENA and South Asia, GE Gas Power; and Rashid Al Hosani, Commercial Director – Maqta Gateway, Abu Dhabi Ports. The panel did an excellent job in responding to a wide range of questions from the online audience and sharing their professional insights on recruitment in a challenging market.
The networking element of the programme was joined by senior representatives from LinkedIn, General Motors, AstraZeneca, Citi Bank, Omnicom Media Group, Continental Tires, DTP (Dubai Technology Partners?), SAP, GMSA, North Telecom.
Event organizer, Hiba Abbassi, Manager, Careers & Alumni Relations at the Middle East Centre, was delighted with the high level of contribution and support for the annual event, despite the need to move the session online. “The response to this year’s event was very strong and perhaps reflects the even greater need for information and insights during very turbulent times. The post event feedback has also been very positive and attendees enjoyed the interactive and practical focus of the event. On behalf of the Middle East Centre, I would like to thank all the panellists and participating companies, as well as the attendees who were able to benefit from this collective experience. It’s all part of our aim to help students and alumni build sustain careers.”