The Job Man: Bringing Back the Executives

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The Job Man: Bringing Back the Executives The Job Man: Bringing Back the Executives

As Iran embarks on the process of reopening to the world and foreign capital and business come to the country, there is one important factor that requires effort to bring in the right minds: executive recruitment.

Contemporary Iranian human resources generally lags behind that of global standards and many executive level jobs are given as promotion through existing company structures.

There is also nepotism in the system, which can and is detrimental to business.

Noting these issues, international corporations wanting to set up shop in Tehran -- most recently Bosch announced it was setting up a representative office – need to have world class managers and executives to spearhead their market entry.

One of such companies facilitating this is Wise&Miller Executive Search, a Dubai based company which regularly places managers in key positions across the Middle East region.

Now the company is beginning its Iran operations and Financial Tribune managed to chat with one of the Founders and Managing Partners Marc Mulder on the sidelines of the Europe-Iran Forum in Zurich earlier in May.

Mulder, who has experience with several regional countries said that Iran is a country which has great potential for his company with placing executives with Iranian heritage.

The headhunter noted that so far European corporations have been the clients he's dealing with in Iran.

"I've been there seven times and talk to a lot of local companies, but local companies are not used to dealing with companies [like ours]. So I decided to deal with international companies for now."

The expert noted that, for the moment, the main types of companies he's dealing with are Healthcare, telecoms, automotive, FMCG and Managing Consulting Firms. He added that these companies have the lead in re-entering the post-sanctions Iranian economic landscape.


Mulder further said several companies are on the verge of entering the market, but their ambitious growth plans for the Iranian market are dependent on the getting the right talent.

"Some clients have big plans; some companies have ambitious growth plans."

The recruitment specialist noted that many of the people he needed to fill the roles were the Iranians who had significant experience with global corporations and could start Iran operations to international-level quality standards.

"People in my team approach Western-based Iranians through either social media or traditional methods, to build a pool of potential candidates."

Mulder went on to say that "some of these candidates told me it's the first time that they have been approached for their unique profile [of being Iranian]."

Unfortunately for local management executives, they would not get the chance to work with these foreign companies until later it seems as the recruitment specialist noted saying that to get the best for the company foreign based companies will place the best candidate – which is always foreign based Iranians.

"For some companies they give compensation and benefits, [to make the transition easier], most other companies offer similar salaries to that what would be paid elsewhere [in the world]."

He went on to say "[If they don't pay the same salaries as abroad then] people are then not interested to go there [to Iran]."

Meanwhile American-Iranians are waiting to see what happens [in the medium term] whether that is related to sanctions or elections in the country.

He added that "So, far I know only European Iranians are going back to Iran, from my country, the Netherlands, from Sweden, from Germany. I know quite a few British and Swedish Iranians who recently moved back."

The demographic groups making the return to the Islamic Republic seems to be the upper echelons of the executive community. Mulder noted that of the pool of candidates he has the majority are over 40-years-old with 80% of applicants being male. Women, maybe unsurprisingly are not so interested to return.

Of the types of occupation making up the bulk of Wise&Miller's business, he said that consulting remains the strongest request from foreign businesses entering the country.

"Number one is consulting jobs at the moment; the consulting companies are going to help companies to enter the market, so they are hiring people to build a team."

The development of Iran as a global hub of business may be still a few years away, but it takes several hundred minds to get it to that destined point, for that as the executive recruitment expert notes, it is unique in its projected trajectory.

"Iran is absolutely unique in the context of the wider region.  In Dubai we have very selective criteria when it comes to placing the right person for the job."

Mulder noted how much the expatriated Iranians wish to go back to their homeland, despite the current international economic restrictions many have when they get there due to lingering doubts by foreign banks to do business with Iran.


"Most of the people I approach; they want to go back. This is despite negative press in the media [abroad].Adding "Most of them want to go back home, they want to do something good for the country and they have a unique profile to do it."

Highlight: The development of Iran as a global hub of business may be a few years away, but it takes several hundred minds to get it to that destined point

Caption: Healthcare, telecoms, automotive and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) companies have the lead in reentering the post-sanctions Iranian economic landscape.