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Recruiters regain ‘worst reputation’ crown; Credit card issuers and call centers also face criticism (Financial Advisers come fifth)

One in every four UAE residents consider recruitment companies to have the worst reputation among those companies typically under fire.


Dubai: Based on a survey of over 1,016 individuals by Insight Discovery, their fourth such study, the lack of trust in recruiters has continued from last year’s poll, placing them first again in 2022. Credit card issuers are again second with 20% of the votes, followed by call centres at 18%, real estate companies at 12% & independent financial advisers at 10%.

Key survey takeaways

  • 25% of all respondents overall felt recruitment companies have the worst reputation in the UAE
  • Recruiters are the least trusted by individuals aged 25-44 and were also least respected by individuals across every income band
  • Other than Asian expats voting for credit card issuers as the least trusted group and Westerners for call centers, respondents of all other nationalities and from every Emirate in the UAE pinpointed recruiters as having the worst reputation
  • Independent Financial Advisers again occupy fifth position for the third year in a row

Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of Insight Discovery, said: “The past 12 months have been exceptionally challenging in lots of ways, especially in relation to job security for many individuals, across all types of sectors. Recruiters don’t seem to have responded by showing the right professional support or guidance for candidates who need it.”

Sillitoe also qualified the term ‘recruiters’. “Whilst most peoples’ criticism of recruiters assume they mean external recruiters or agencies, where there is the whole spectrum from good to bad, the vast majority of recruiters since the rise of LinkedIn are, in fact, internal, focused on talent acquisition. There are of course some highly professional recruiters, but too many are ineffective.”

The key for recruiters to improve their standing, according to UAE residents, is simply to act in a transparent way. “They need to be responsive and give clear guidance to individuals who are looking for a new job, or perhaps even a change of career,” added Sillitoe.

Meanwhile, by contrast, Independent Financial Advisers (IFA’s) fared relatively well in the survey. Sillitoe said “For IFAs not to appear on this list next time two things probably need to happen. For starters cold calling must stop, whilst less prevalent than in the past this annoying and antiquated practice still goes with one or two IFA firms being guilty parties. Secondly, unregulated firms making outrageous return claims don’t help as they are misleading investors and tarnishing the good work done by so many IFAs in the region. Having interviewed so many CEOs at IFA firms Insight Discovery plans to help the industry by launching a campaign to make it harder for unregulated firms to advertise and generate business leads”

“This market research study was conducted to support our annual study Middle East Investment Panorama, which is now in its twelfth year. With our partner firms Friends Provident International and Financial Risk Solutions we will soon be revealing the results from our interviews with the CEOs of regulated advisory firms and fund selectors at banks. This includes looking at what financial advisers need to do in order to enhance their reputation with consumers,” explained Sillitoe.