GNcareers, from Gulf News

Banks slip in attracting top talent in the UAE

Banks slip in attracting top talent in the UAEImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes,

Business students from local UAE universities choose airports and airlines, software companies and the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector as their preferred places to find a career, according to the newly released Deloitte Talent in Banking Survey 2014.

The survey is based on Deloitte's analysis of research undertaken by Universum, which has been researching students' career intentions across the world since 1988. Banking ranked fourth most popular industry to work in, falling from second-most popular in the space of one year.

''Banks can still change the perception about career in banking if they give an appropriate degree of attention and consideration to students' goals and expectations, and integrate this into their talent agenda,'' said Joe Al Fadl, partner-in-charge of the Financial Services Industry at Deloitte Middle East.

The top career goals among banking students are work-life balance and job security. Those considering working for a bank also value care and attention to career development and continuous education coupled with friendly working environment, in addition to financial consideration, such as performance-related bonus and pay scheme, the survey showed.

The good news for banks in the UAE is that banking-inclined students strongly associate them with the attributes that they most value, and expect them to deliver well on work-life balance and job security. However it may be of concern to banks that banking-inclined students do not necessarily value the things that they most expect to find at banks. There is a noticeable lack of interest in ''client interaction'' and high level of responsibility.

Banks may also be interested to note that a competitive basic salary is of much less interest to banking-inclined students than they may imagine. It ranks just 22nd out of 40 job attributes as an aspiration.

The relatively small difference in percentages between the top six most popular career sectors for business students means that banks face competition from many quarters when it comes to attracting talent. There are just five percentage points between transport and logistics at number one which represented 14.1 per cent of choices for ideal employer and auditing and accounting in sixth place, with 8.9 per cent. Banking took 10.2 per cent.

''Banks need students with information technology skills to meet both regulatory demands and consumer preferences for online and mobile banking. At the same time more than a third of banking-inclined students say they are looking to be innovative in their career,'' said Rana Ghandour Salhab, Talent and Communications partner at Deloitte Middle East.

''What banks can take away from this is the need to emphasise the variety of creative digital roles available when seeking to attract new recruits, if they want to snap up the best and brightest students,'' added Salhab.

Of this year's sample survey of UAE business students, 56 per cent of women and 44 per cent of men were banking-inclined, meaning they put at least one bank in their top five ideal employers. This significant gender gap is in contrast to most other European, Middle Eastern, and African markets where there is a fairly equal division between men and women among banking-inclined students.

In the UAE survey, most investment banking-inclined students are men.

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Source: Babu Das Augustine, Banking Editor,