As the Middle East prepares to host some of the most prestigious sports events in the coming years (2019 World Athletics Championships and the 2022 World Cup), opportunities in the region are becoming more frequent, but how will you capitalise upon these?
Already playing host to some illustrious sporting spectacles such as the season-ending double-point-earning F1 Grand Prix, the ATP 500 tennis event in Dubai, International Rugby Sevens tournaments and several cricket series’, there is no doubt that the sports industry is booming. This type of marketplace requires expertise from established regions to continue to grow, hence the large expat community in the Middle East across industries, sport inclusive.
However, this need for expertise does not mean that landing a role in the region is going to be easy. Although an individual is right to identify the Middle East as a sports career location, an absence of region-specific experience on a CV and a relative lack of knowledge about the culture is a disadvantage. After all, sports organisations do not just rely on international candidates, there is an extensive pool of local sports business professionals vying for significant senior roles too.
Though young in comparison, this market is as equally competitive as the sports industry in other regions. Because of this, as with any role, you must display more than other candidates can – show you are committed to a career and the development of sport in the region. You’ll very unlikely find yourself looking at the Burj Al Arab centred skyline with an impromptu application here and there. Educate yourself on the seven different states, the organisations based in each (The International Cricket Council Headquarters are in Dubai, for example), current projects and future developments. Build contacts in the region using the many tools at your disposal in today’s digital world. Demonstrate this network and knowledge of the local industry in your application; one way of boasting your seriousness about forging a career in the area.
And as the Middle East gets a grasp of some of the globes largest sports events, it does not end there – Qatar alone will host World Championships in a smorgasbord of sports in 2015 including squash, swimming, handball, boxing and para-athletics as well as over 35 other events, all of which offer job opportunities.
Middle Eastern organisations often look not only for extensive experience but also degree or Masters qualified candidates and affiliation to a professional institute. These attributes are one way of showing genuine quality, something that is vital in this high-rolling, ‘bigger-better’ aspiring environment.
Nailing down these world renowned sports events are just the start. With the wealth on show, the business of sport is due to go from strength-to-strength in the near future, and as it does, more and more career opportunities will arise and the strongest talent will be attracted towards the seven states.