“Dedication, friendliness and a customer-centric attitude is what Aramex truly values in new hires.” says Iyad Kamal, COO
Who’s Iyad Kamal?
Iyad Kamal is the Chief Operating Officer at Aramex, one of the leading logistics and transportation companies in the Middle East and South Asia, and the first company from the Arab world to go public on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Since he joined Aramex in 1991, Mr. Kamal has considerably contributed to the company’s logistics and transportation operations’ growth.
Iyad serves on the Advisory Committee of the Mousab Khorma Youth Empowerment Fund, part of a regional, private sector-led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities overcome marginalization through youth activism, civic engagement, and education. He is also the president of Al Riyadi Club, a prominent basketball and sports organization in Jordan.
Iyad earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, from the University of Jordan in 1989, and in 1991 he received his Masters of Arts degree in Economics from Bowling Green State University, in the USA. Here’s how our interview with Iyad went…
1. How do you like living and working in Jordan?
Jordan is a wonderful place to live in and it is home to me. However, speaking from a business perspective, it has one of the smallest economies in the Arab region and therefore one doesn’t see the level of business activity, development and growth like one does in the GCC countries. But apart from this drawback, I truly believe that we have a large pool of talent in this part of the world and I enjoy working here.
2. What is your average day at work like?
My work day is fairly typical and routine. I arrive at work early, have a packed day, spend some quality time with my family, and manage to find the time to play sports about three times week.
3. What is the most important thing Aramex looks for in new hires?
As a globally diverse company, with an expanding international presence, I think the most important thing we look for in a potential candidate is their drive and potential to grow in addition to their dedication, friendliness and customer-centric attitude. This is keeping in line with the company’s unique entrepreneurial culture and beginnings. In addition, we frequently hire fresh graduates because we believe in fostering young potential and creating an engaging work environment where they can flourish as the company grows.
4. What is the biggest challenge you face in hiring talent?
In general, I think a challenge most companies face in this part of the world is the discrepancy between their valuation of a potential candidate’s cost and the salary expectation of that individual. This is something that I believe can be attributed to the rapidly rising cost of living in the Middle East. Apart from that I think retention of high calibre personnel is always a challenge for employers here.
5. How would you describe Aramex’s work culture?
Aramex is one of the most well-known entrepreneurial successes of the region and its work culture is a reflection of this. We encourage entrepreneurial thinking, innovation and ideas from all employees, across the board.
6. What has been the highlight of your career?
Working with Aramex since 1991, I’ve experienced and contributed to the dynamic growth of a great company. There have been numerous highlights in my career at the company but being a part of it has been the true highlight of my career.
7. What do you read to keep abreast of industry developments?
I keep up with logistics and business in the Middle East by reading regional newspapers and magazines, including Arabian Supply Chain and Financial Times.
8. How do you think the Middle East has evolved when it comes to HR policies and practices?
The Middle East I believe presents an interesting HR landscape that combines traditional and modern elements. In the wealthier countries the emphasis is clearly on a more strategic management style of HR as a result of a large number of multinationals present there and a growing number of home-grown world-class companies who are making efforts to achieve levels of efficiency and performance similar to those of their global competitors. In other parts of the Middle East, the focus of HR tends to be more on payroll and traditional personnel management issues. Naturally, HR policies and practices are reflective of the level of advancement in the country, but I think we are seeing the gap get narrower. More companies are getting more transparent in their practices overall and are also adopting fairer and more competitive policies.
9. Anything else you’d like to share with the community of Bayt.com Employers?
Yes, as a global employer (13,300 people, a network that spans 353 locations in 60 countries), Aramex has always wanted to genuinely support and nurture the communities it operates in. We are strong advocates of education, youth empowerment and entrepreneurship and extensive private sector involvement in helping communities thrive. Whether it’s something personal like mentoring, coaching, training or more general like internships, short-term opportunities, and job placements – the private sector is uniquely placed to help communities due to its resources and business acumen. I believe that more employers should look into giving back more to the communities they work in.