May Gulf Visit - Meeting Employers across the Middle East

Earlier in May I returned to the Gulf region for the third time in four months, along with my colleague, Senior Recruitment Consultant, Jim Godsal. We visited Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, meeting more than 20 employers over seven days. 

We landed in Doha late in the evening, and as always it was a great drive in from the airport. Soon after you pass the beautiful and imposing Museum of Islamic Art, you get your first view of Doha’s incredible skyline. The view of West Bay as you drive along the Corniche is stunning and some say captures the essence of Doha well; Traditional dhows, floating against a glittering backdrop of shiny new buildings and skyscrapers which stretch out along the bay and at night time sparkle with all sorts of different colours and lighting effects. It’s almost two years since my first visit to Doha and even in that short time I can see many changes and additions to the landscape.

Our first meeting was with Sidra Medical and Research Centre, one of our key clients in Doha. When complete, Sidra will be a state of the art academic Women’s and Children’s medical centre. The Qatar Foundation has given Sidra one of the largest endowments ever provided to a medical and research centre anywhere in the world. It’s a hugely ambitious and exciting project, committed to attracting a large number of world-class academic Physicians. We have been involved with the project since 2011 and we have certainly seen it gather pace in the last 6-9 months with the Chief Medical Officer and many other key executives now in post and many Consultants having attended interview. We are still looking for suitably qualified applicants in certain specialties to attend the next round of UK and US interviews – see the Sidra employer profile for further details of the centre and the positions available.

It was a flying visit to Doha, so we didn’t have any free time to explore the city this time round (taking in highlights like Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif, The Pearl etc). We did however have time to enjoy some absolutely fabulous food, dining on the set menu at Spice Market, the South East Asian restaurant in the W Hotel. Not to be missed if you are looking for a great dining experience in Doha.

The next day we flew to Kuwait. This was my first visit and it was great to add a new stamp to the passport. Situated at the top of the Gulf and home to a population of 2.8 million (UN, 2011) oil-rich Kuwait is experiencing major growth within healthcare. With a private healthcare industry which is relatively young but primed for huge growth we see lots of potential in Kuwait. As many Kuwaitis opt to be treated within the private sector as cash payers rather than through health insurance, we saw some incredibly luxurious facilities. In particular some of the birthing units are more akin to an opulent 7 star hotel than a maternity ward. Our first Doctor arrived in post in Kuwait at the beginning of this year and it was great to catch up with him and hear how he has settled in.

Again there wasn’t much time for sightseeing, but we did see the impressive Kuwait Towers and some of the countryside when we visited Al Ahmadi, the region south of Kuwait City where the Kuwait Oil Company is headquartered. We had a quick scoot round a fabulous shopping mall and last but not least enjoyed some great Indian food with live musical entertainment as we dined - can you spot a theme developing here?!

One of our clients, a JCI Accredited private hospital in Kuwait City, will be conducting interviews in the UK this June, so if you are interested in finding out more, please do let us know.

After a short flight South, it was great to get to Dubai in time for some down time over the weekend. During a visit in January 2013 for Arab Health I had managed to tick off some of the tourist must-dos; An Abra ride on Dubai creek, Lebanese food at the Madinat, bartering in the textile, gold and spice souks and the wonderful ‘dancing’ fountains at Dubai Mall. This time I managed to see the beach for the first time and spent a lovely afternoon relaxing with a beautiful view of the imposing Burj Al Arab hotel and the Gulf. Another highlight was a trip to the viewing platform at the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building; Fabulous views and a great exhibition about the design, build and opening of this incredible building. 

After a couple of days of meetings in Dubai we were on the road again, this time heading to Al Ain, also known as the Garden City due to its greenery. The ‘Oasis City’ is rich in history as it was once a vital oasis on the caravan route from the UAE to Oman and is one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements. Al Ain is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi but has a very different feel to its bigger sister; It’s much more traditional and also looks very different. All new buildings must be four stories or lower to really preserve the look and feel and show off the greenery.

This was my first visit to Al Ain and I really enjoyed seeing a different side to the UAE. We met with both public and private healthcare organisations here and were heartened to find there are many opportunities for well qualified Consultants seeking opportunities here. Cost of living is low and lifestyle is attractive, particularly for families. There is lots to do in the area (Al Ain National Museum; Prehistoric Tombs at Hili Fort; Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort; The Camel Market and Wadi Adventure - a man-made white water rafting, kayaking and surfing playground in the desert!) And with both Abu Dhabi and Dubai within an easy reach this is definitely a great destination to consider for Doctors interested in working in the UAE, but looking for a slightly less hectic pace and lower cost of living.

Last but not least we spent a day at meetings in the sparkling city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. One of our biggest current projects is an involvement with a private group who are opening a new Women’s and Children’s hospital in December 2013. We expect that UK interviews will be held in London either in June or July, so please do register your interest if you are keen.

Abu Dhabi is the seat of power in the UAE and is a big, busy city with some fabulous modern architecture, a beautiful coastline and some beautiful traditional style buildings such as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It’s also home to Emirates Palace, the world’s most expensive hotel. After a day of meetings, traffic and high temperatures though it was great to escape the city streets and within a couple of minutes we were heading along the 8km Corniche then onto the road crossing the beautiful Saadiyat & Yas Islands.

Saadiyat Island's Cultural District which is currently under construction will house the largest single cluster of world-class cultural centres. As well as The Louvre Abu Dhabi this will include the Zayed National Museum; the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; a performing arts centre designed by Zaha Hadid; a maritime museum with concept design by Tadao Ando and a number of art pavilions. The planned buildings look wonderful so in years to come this will be an excellent visitor site.

If you’d like to learn more about working as a Consultant in the Gulf region and the upcoming UK interviews, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch with our Gulf Recruitment Team.

Anna Payne
Managing Director


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