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Professions named and shamed in UAE ‘worst reputation’ survey

Worst professionals Unsplash/Hunters race
UAE residents were surveyed about which industries delivered the most infuriating customer service in the annual "Worst Reputation" report
  • Recruiters, social media influencers and real estate agents under fire
  • Hiring managers must give clearer guidance to job seekers
  • PR for influencers says they often have hissy fits during work events

Recruiters have topped a list of the worst professionals to deal with in the UAE for the third year in a row, while social media influencers offering financial advice were also targeted as “infuriating”.

UAE residents were asked which industries delivered the most unreliable customer service in a survey for the fifth annual “Worst Reputation” report from Dubai-based communications firm Insight Discovery.

More than half of respondents picked the recruitment sector, beating telemarketers and credit card firms.

Abdulmuttalib Hashim, managing director of TBH Advisory, which helps UAE employers attract young local talent for the world of work, called the survey results “unsurprising”.

He added that it only tells part of the story behind the dissatisfaction candidates have with recruiters. 

“Job security continues to top the list of concerns UAE residents have, and this correlates with their frustration with the job search process,” Hashim said.

“Internal recruiters are often struggling with budget constraints, a challenging and unpredictable business climate.”

The headhunter added that both candidates and employers – local and expat – often have “unrealistic demands” on salaries, turnaround times and feedback on applications.

Hashim said both sides need to better understand and “align with market realities”.

He said recruitment firms need to be more honest with both employers and candidates.

Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of Insight Discovery, said it was “disappointing” to see recruiters called out yet again because demand for talent in the UAE is growing as more companies set up or expand into the Gulf state. 

“Hiring managers and job seekers need efficient, trustworthy recruiters, and we all need them to succeed to keep the economy moving forwards,” Sillitoe said.

“Simple steps, like being responsive and giving clear guidance to individuals who are looking for a job, can make a difference.”

Social media
Social media influencers can be a “nightmare”, said a PR professional. Picture: Unsplash/Laura Chouette

The study also saw social media influencers join those with the lowest professional reputation.

Sillitoe said the lack of transparency around when influencers are being paid to promote a product or service leads to a lack of trust.

He said people should be concerned about the rise of financial influencers who post about financial products and give financial advice. 

“These influencers often post about unregulated schemes, including cryptocurrency schemes, which can be risky or even illegal,” Sillitoe said.

A director at a public relations agency that regularly deals with social media influencers for client campaigns called the industry a “nightmare” to deal with. 

“No adult should behave the way they do, especially for what we pay them,” the agency director said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“Our team are often in tears over the constant theatrics and some have quit over time because they don’t want to be in a job that requires dealing with influencers.”

The PR director said bad behaviour included arriving to gigs late, hissy fits on set about not having an exclusive hair and makeup room, complaining about being booked into regular hotel rooms instead of suites, keeping crews waiting mid-shoot while disappearing to take hour-long phone calls, demanding excessive gifts, and racking up exorbitant room service tabs.

Other professions that featured in the worst professional reputation ranking included real estate agents, independent financial advisers and bank-employed advisers.

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