The region will continue to show resilience and support business continuity.


Strength in diversity

March 2, 2021

Mahesh Patil, managing director of Horizon Group of Companies, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s approach to services provision and its recently launched online job portal and mobile app, HiresGulf.com. Horizon Group of Companies comprises eight firms across a range of sectors. Its central activities are oil and gas subcontracting and outsourcing manpower supply on demand.

What is the group’s core business?
Horizon Group of Companies was established in 1995 and we operate from the UAE with branch offices in Canada and India. Our core businesses are oil and gas subcontracting, outsourcing manpower supply on demand and real estate, which we have carried out over the past 19 years, deploying more than 1,200-plus staff across many of the most prestigious projects launched in the UAE. On top of that, we also operate as a subcontractor in pipeline projects, doing piping, pipeline, fabrication, welding, steel erection, scaffolding, steel structuring, civil and mechanical works.

How are you differentiated from other recruiters in the region?
We provide end-to-end services and bring the operations scope to the table. Many of the projects in ADNOC face issues with the local availability of manpower and the logistics that come with that. This goes for both white-collar and blue-collar workers.
What typically happens both onshore and offshore is that they face a lot of difficulties in shift changes and meeting the requirements for food, accommodation, transportation, healthcare, absence monitoring and medical reporting. Absenteeism is a big threat for our daily operations, particularly for blue-collar workers, as their productivity decreases dramatically and it will affect projects. Our operations and human resources team are well organised, and we provide these services as part of our complete end-to-end service.
This is the main reason why ADNOC recently ranked us among the top five recruitment companies in Abu Dhabi.

Which key clients do you work with in the UAE?
The staff we supply are mostly working in state-owned companies such as ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority and Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre, but we also deploy manpower to big international EPC contractors such as CPECC, CPP [China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Company], Hyundai, Samsung, GS Engineering, SEPCOIII, Técnicas Reunidas, Doosan Babcock, Maire Tecnimont, Arabian Industries and others.


How has the group diversified its portfolio over the years?
Horizon is composed of eight major companies operating in various sectors and we have recently ventured into some relevant diversified areas. For example, we have started importing seeds from Jordan and copper from China through our subsidiary Horizon International Trading.
Another business we recently ventured into is the manufacture of non-woven biodegradable bags, providing an environmentally friendly solution for the retail sector in the UAE and GCC region. This is done through our subsidiary Horizon Worldwide Endeavour. Our 850-square-metre manufacturing plant is located in Delhi, India, and our current monthly output capacity is 48 tonnes based on a single shift.

How has Horizon navigated the pandemic and ensured the safety of its employees?
We started by demobilising more than 400 workforces from the existing projects to our camps in the Musaffah Industrial Area. We had to set up quarantine and isolation rooms and provide first aid, basic salary, food and accommodation while following the guidelines of the Abu Dhabi government. In this regard, we succeeded in mobilising 85% of the idle workforces within 45 days of the lockdown’s start to the existing and new projects in oil and gas and energy projects in UAE.

As the In-Country Value (ICV) Programme spans multiple sectors of the economy, how does Horizon Group of Companies work towards increasing its scoring?
Our chairman, Mr. Hamed Alkarbi, has always supported Emiratisation, and under his guidance, we have invested a portion of our revenue in developing the nation. For 2019, our scoring was 41.4% and we gradually increased that to 49.64% by 2020. This coming year, we target a 54% ICV score and we are aiming to hire 25 UAE nationals.

Tell us about your recently launched online job portal and mobile app, HiresGulf.com
This platform was a big dream of our organisational vision 2020-21. I started developing it in early 2019 and it took almost 18 months to complete. In August 2020, we released the application. Under my supervision and management, our HiresGulf project team worked very hard and put all our experience into the completion of the project. The goal was to ease recruitment for everyone involved – the employers and the job seekers.
By deploying artificial intelligence in the user interface, we make the experience of recruitment easier and more efficient. To do this, we connected with the two most convenient social media and technical platforms, Apple and LinkedIn. If you have an Apple ID, within a fraction of a second you can sign in to the app using your Face ID. Connecting with LinkedIn allowed us to create a link with various professional realms around the world. LinkedIn is well known and has a wide reach of professionals.
Thanks to this interconnectivity and our harnessing of AI, within a minute you can not only create a profile, but upload a self-introduction video to impress the employer.

What’s next for Horizon Group of Companies?
We would like to start recruitment operations in Canada, India and Philippines through our subsidiary Horizon International Recruitment Services, and we are very much looking forward to setting up a training centre across all our branches for semi- and high-skilled categories.
The region will continue to show resilience and support business continuity and we will grow as a group as part of this.

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