The banking and financial services sector has always played a pivotal role in the economy of the UAE and the government is aiming to increase the number of locals joining the workforce in this space.
Emiratisation or Tawteen campaigns ensure the inclusion of Emirati hiring in the various job sectors across the UAE. The banking and financial services sector has always played a pivotal role in the economy of the UAE and the government is aiming to increase the number of locals joining the workforce in this space. The latest initiative by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation seek to help companies reach their UAE National hiring targets by creating 1500 jobs in 100 days.
In the past ministerial orders imposed a “quota” system on Central Bank regulated financial services firms where organisations had to a have a certain number or percentage of Emiratis in their workforce. This minimum percentage had been increasing year on year and in 2017, circa 40 percent of banking employees in some of the larger onshore banks had to be Emirati occupied.
Recently, the Central Bank UAE have implemented a new system called the points-based system for banks recruiting Emirati talent. Under this plan, the focus is more on quality rather than quantity. The aim is not only to award points to banks creating roles for Emiratis but furthermore, it looks at the seniority of the vacancy as well as training and upskilling as part of the awarding system. This system offers a distinct feature, where target points for banks are set out by the Central Bank based upon the size and operating income. One of the main highlights of this system dictates that institutions or banks will attain double rewards in the form of points for every local employee who works in a “critical” or “high-level” position.
Cooper Fitch has been working closely with a number of our banking clients in the UAE to ensure they are hiring top-level UAE Nationals and thus achieving the targeted points levels as set out by the Central Bank UAE. One such project we worked on with an international bank was to recruit and identify five, top-level UAE National graduates as part of their “Mehnaty” (my occupation) program. One of our larger local banking clients, mandated Cooper Fitch to secure Emirati talent as part of their PAL program (Program for Accelerated Learning) which involved six months of job rotation stints across various areas of the bank with a view to identifying these key hires as future leaders and managers in the organisation.
Cooper Fitch is witnessing more clients favouring Emirati talent over expatriates as the years have gone on. Where there is a shortage of UAE National talent in certain key functions of the bank, the organisation will also look to transfer employees into these important areas. Banks then implement mentoring programs to make up for any experience and skill set deficiencies. Competition is rife among the banks to secure local talent. The points system has added more pressure on hiring managers and HR departments to attract and retain locals.
We are seeing more Emiratis successfully diversifying their skill set to fit the market needs. They are becoming more niche and skilled in unique banking areas in comparison to the past few years. There is a definite shift away from front-office banking occupations to critical key positions which in return gives the local talent more responsibilities and empowerment.
Alan Hynes manages the banking and financial services recruitment team at Cooper Fitch Recruitment UAE (formerly Morgan McKinley Recruitment). He has over five years experience recruiting for banks, asset managers, private equity and brokerage firms in the GCC to identify leading talent. You can contact Alan on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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