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Broadening our horizons: taking on the Middle East market

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As the global cyber security market expands, one area that is receiving particular attention is the Middle East. In particular, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grouping, comprising Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is going through a period of unprecedented growth when it comes to cyber resilience.

This makes sense when you consider the threats the region is facing. Like much of the world, countries in the GCC have had to quickly adapt to work-from-home patterns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, exposing new vulnerabilities in cloud systems. This has come at the same time as an increase in cyber threats due to the strategic and economic significance of the region, and major world events like the Qatar FIFA World Cup driving cyber-criminal activity.

According to the Middle East Cyber Security Market Research Report, the regions cyber security market was assumed to grow at a CAGR of 22.5% in 2022, and in the GCC alone the market is worth an estimated $19 billion. The boost in cyber threats, digitization initiatives, and investment in homeland security are driving growth, and many countries are investing heavily in developing their own cyber surveillance and security mechanisms.

Forging a new market

Since launching in 2020 Trident Search has become the go-to provider for cyber security recruitment. We have established relationships with some of the fastest growing and most influential cyber companies across all strategic global markets and have played a key role in supporting the build-out of our clients commercial and project teams.

​We’ve therefore had our sights set on the Middle East market for some time, and in mid-2022 the perfect opportunity for expansion into this area came about, in the shape of specialist consultant Sabri Babouri. A multilingual salesperson with over ten years of successful sales and management experience in the luxury industry, Sabri was perfectly placed to grow our operations in the GCC.

As the volume of business in the Middle East grew, we took on an additional consultant to support this work, Del Azzi. As another fluent French and Arabic speaker, the two of them have taken the market by storm.

A wealth of opportunities

There are ample opportunities for us within this market, especially within the growing sector of Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) and across the cyber resilience landscape. Governments in the Middle East are acutely aware of the new threat landscape of digitization, and in recent years have stepped up their cyber security activities to bolster national cyber security capabilities and increase the protection of their vital national information infrastructure. All of this means that more and more cyber professionals are required across the industry.

Commenting on the opportunities in the region, Sabri states:

“The whole market is expected to grow to $44.7 billion by 2027, so it’s clear the Middle East is emerging as a hotspot of cyber security activity. All six members of the GCC have their own variant of a cyber development strategy and it’s an increasingly popular topic within both the public and private sectors across the region.”

With such rapid growth comes a need to develop robust cyber infrastructure resulting in a boom in digital transformation start-ups. Although dominated by a few key players at this time, the rapid advancement of technology means the potential for development is huge, as Del comments:

“Regional industry is currently led by Saudi Arabia, but it will be exciting to see what other major players arise over the next few years. With the emergence of so many specialised start-ups, the field really is wide open.”

The message is clear: watch this space!

How do you open a new market?

In order to take advantage of all these opportunities, we first had to do the groundwork to gain entry into the regional market. Trident Search is certainly not the first cyber recruitment company working in the Middle East, and to get a foothold in the market Sabri and Del had to take a number of steps:

1. Understand the market

“The first stage was to analyse the current state of the GCC cyber market and identify what the unmet needs and pain points are for companies in the region” says Sabri. “My initial task on joining the company was to conduct detailed market research to get a clearer picture of who the customers are, their challenges and the potential solutions we could provide.”

Through an in-depth study Sabri was able to identify gaps in the market, finetune our value proposition and get a more nuanced understanding of the market from both a client and candidate perspective.

2. Identify unmet needs in the cyber recruitment market

In the face of increasing threats, the Middle East has changed its approach to cyber security over the last five years. There is a determination to go fully digital in order to put countries ahead of potential cyber-attacks, so companies are quickly investing in new tech and resources, which in turn is creating high demand within the recruitment industry.

Although many roles are based in the UAE, and in Dubai in particular, we’re also seeing a number of roles in hubs like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with emerging hotspots in Oman and Bahrain as the start-up scene evolves. Utilising their language skills, Del and Sabri have focussed on the Arabic-speaking market, expanding their reach across the whole Greater Middle East region to find the top talent from Jordan, Egypt and beyond to fill premium positions in cyber centres.

3. Develop a customer value proposition (CVP)

“We’re lucky to be in the unique position of working in one of the best-renowned specialist cyber recruitment agencies in the world, the brand strength of which alone already gives us a head start in new markets” comments Del.

Using the CVP model, we worked out that Trident’s values of trust, innovation and excellence would resonate well with the Middle Eastern market. This has enabled us to build strong relationships with clients and candidates in the region and given us an edge over competitors in the same space. As Sabri puts it:

“A big part of it is being committed and focussed on the project you are working on, that way our clients understand that we will deliver over and above what we promise and aren’t just looking for quick results that may not work for them in the long-term.”

Focussing on MSSPs, cyber consultancies and vendors, we’ve seen great results from our mission to help build and scale client’s sales and marketing functions, always whilst using a customer-centric approach.

4. Build their network

“Both of us had experience of working with the Arabic market from our previous roles, so we knew how best to build relationships with clients. The challenge of being based in London and having to build bridges digitally with our network has made the process harder, but we’ve had some great successes and now get to work with amazing businesses across the whole region” says Sabri.

Based on this and the positive response we have received so far from our clients, the team have built a reputation as the go-to recruiters for market insight, customer experience and innovative processes.

With a growing network and exceptional results, we can’t wait to see what Sabri and Del can achieve next!

For more information on our capabilities in the Middle East, and to speak to one of our dedicated consultants about job opportunities, contact us today.

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