A demand for skilled banking staff is outstripping supply in banks within the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (the political and economic alliance between Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain) are struggling to gain and retain skilled bank workers.
The survey by Accucenture, has revealed that there was a skills shortage amongst 58% of executives surveyed leaving many consumers unsatisfied with bank services.
According to the survey retaining skilled workers is the biggest issue facing the banks within the Middle East.
An additional critical challenge facing banks in the GCC is retaining customers and improving customer service.
The survey, which was released on Tuesday, has found that customers of the Gulf banks are becoming more demanding with their expectations and less loyal, as regional competition rapidly increases.
This need for skilled banking staff in the Middle East comes at a time when banks are at rock bottom in the West and more and more cuts are being made within the banks in the UK and Europe.
Amr Elsaadani, managing director of Accenture’s banking practice in the Middle East, said that in order for banks to increase their shareholder value, attracting and retaining skilled and talented employees would prove central to their strategies.
In an attempt to rectify this disparity between staff and skills, Gulf banks are implementing a range of initiatives to address the issue. These include coaching and mentoring; revamping compensation through higher salaries and bonuses and increasing transparency in career paths.
Around 93 percent of executives who took part in the survey see “robust customer management” as the top driver of profits and growth through 2015.
“The increasing customer orientation of these banks reflects an expectation that the pool of customers in the GCC is getting wider and deeper — especially with regard to youth, women and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which have traditionally received little attention,” added Elsaadani. “To capture these markets, banks will need to ramp up both their retail and commercial banking capabilities.”
The increased emphasis on customer service in the Gulf banks is something that has been invested in extensively in the U.K and Europe, where there are an abundance of skilled and talented workers who are facing job losses with the financial climate.
This demand for emphasis on customer service and talented employees in the Middle East demonstrates that the banks in the Gulf are aware of their financial advantage over the West, and are attempting to address the areas where the West excel, exactly at the time when the jobs of skilled workers in the West are diminishing with the financial state.
Article by Lauren Probert