Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for Banking represents the predicted market-rate salary ranges for new recruits across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 2020.
Salaries in Saudi Arabia’s banking and financial services sector are predicted to rise by 3% on average in 2020 compared to the previous year, reflecting increased hiring activity in this sector. Broader industry conditions are stable, with Saudi banks’ profit margins expected to remain stable at 2.2 per cent in the next 12-18 months.
Against this backdrop, government spending in Saudi Arabia has risen in the last 12-24 months, within a positive knock-on impact on job creation in the sector. For the purpose of this report, banking and financial services roles fall within offshore and onshore zones regulated by the two major regulators in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). Roles spanning front office functions including on and offshore private banking and wealth management, investment and asset management, retail and corporate banking, and back-office functions such as compliance, risk, finance, HR, legal, administration, marketing and communications.
Recruitment in 2019 centred around front-office roles as banks work to expand their client bases and meet ambitious performance targets. However, there is likely to be increased hiring for support roles in 2020 due to stricter credit restrictions introduced by the SAMA regulator. Meanwhile, rapid growth in digital banking is rising demand for technologyrelated expertise. Banks are expected to accelerate digitalisation agendas over the next 18-24 months. This will mean a shift away from hiring for branchfocussed operations, towards creating in-house technology roles.
However, organisations in Saudi have faced challenges hiring for niche roles in digital banking due to skills shortages. Saudisation is another challenge. Under CMA regulations, specific vital functions - such as Head of Compliance - have been earmarked for Saudi nationals only, sparking a race to secure their services. Banks also face competition from public sector entities as they implement largescale infrastructure and other projects in line with Vision 2030.
In response, recruitment strategies tend to reflect the needs of government projects, and this is expected to continue. The most in-demand roles in 2020 include relationship manager roles across private and institutional banking, credit risk and market analytics roles, and digital banking officers.
In general, there remains a high demand for qualified finance professionals in the kingdom, as well as industry-specific marketing, PR and branding experts. Further expertise is sought in global accounting standards, Basel III requirements, AntiMoney Laundering and Know Your Customer rules, as global regulatory requirements continue to tighten.
Recruitment activity in 2020 will centre around Riyadh and Jeddah, although there has been a recent surge of activity in the Eastern Province, where many banks in the consumer space have large customer portfolios and greater need for banking products and services.
Another feature of the Saudi banking industry is rapid staff turnover as employees chase competitive packages. The average tenure for banking staff is just 2-3 years, our experts say. Banks must focus on creating leadership programmes to attract and retain employees over the long term.
Download the full Banking Salary Guide 2020 here
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