Is talent enough? Does the #Gulf have enough #creative #marketing #talent?

This week I wrote a fun piece for the UAE-based internet news portal Kipp Report rebutting arguments put forth by the head of creative marketing and advertising agency Leo Burnett.

I’m not going to repaste the stores word for word but you can find both pieces linked here. You can find my piece, Is talent enough, via this link. The piece by Kamal Dimachkie, executive regional managing director of Leo Burnett – UAE, Kuwait and Lower Gulf, can be found here.

What I’d like is to hear from UAE and GCC nationals who are either working in this sector or who have a passion for advertising, branding and marketing. What are your thoughts on this subject? And what would you like the industry to do to encourage local talent?

And for all of my friends, family and everybody else out there in the blogosphere I’d like to say Ramadan Kareem! We’re a day into the holy month but it’s never too late to express our blessings for this month. My wife designed the visuals below (and she’s a GCC national! Go figure…)

Ramadan Mubarak to you all!

Empowering women in Saudi through Glowork

Despite the size of the Kingdom and the importance of the country both in terms of its GDP and population, it’s not often that I get excited about anything online over here in Saudi. Recently, one initiative which I’ve been fully behind has proved that there are people out there who understand the power of the internet and who are determined to harness it for the good of progress in Saudi Arabia.

I was introduced to the team behind Glowork before its official launch. Put as simply as possible, Glowork is the first employment website dedicated to women looking for work in Saudi Arabia. Remarkably, there’s never been any similar initiative that I’ve been aware of in the country despite the millions of women over here both in employment and wanting to work. This is even more surprising considering that the majority of Saudi university graduates are females. There’s a wealth of talent out there that few companies have tapped into.

The team at Glowork have worked flat out to build awareness about the site among all the women out there online in Saudi as well as with employers. They’ve identified a niche and they are matching women with companies who they may not otherwise have been able to connect with. The likes of Panda, Microsoft and KPMG are today using Glowork to advertise positions for women in Saudi Arabia.

What is also striking is that Glowork’s marketing people are not using conventional advertising to promote themselves. Instead, they’ve gone online and are busy posting updates on Facebook and tweeting about new positions. This approach has allowed the site to build up a loyal following among thousands of women in the Kingdom as well as enable these women to interact with those behind the site and learn about the recruitment process.

We’re still a long way off having women being an integral part of the workforce in Saudi Arabia. However, sites such as Glowork will make a huge difference to all those women looking to start their careers in Jeddah, Riyadh and Al-Khobar. When you think that there’s over ten million women here, that’s a huge market to tap into.

Kudos to Glowork’s founders for being both the first into this space and for how they’re looking to reach out to women through social media. I hope others learn from your efforts. And if you haven’t checked out the Glowork site then go there, now!