Gulf banks facing ‘skills shortage’
Dubai, November 30, 2011
The shortage of skills is the biggest challenge facing the GCC banking industry besides new regulation - especially as more global banks enter the market, said a survey by Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services company.
Demand for skilled banking staff is outstripping supply in the Gulf region at a time when the Western banking industry is drastically cutting its workforce, said the surveyed which covered 47 executives at major banks in the GCC.
A skills shortage was cited by 58 percent of all executives surveyed and 69 percent of those from the largest banks, it added.
Accenture pointed out that the region's banks were in a race to adapt to more demanding customers and were increasingly targeting the largely untapped youth, women and small- and medium-sized business markets.
In fact, nearly two-thirds of respondents agreed that the biggest impact of more global banks operating in the region will be the increased competition for skills and talent over the next few years.
A majority of 89 per cent of respondents said that attracting and retaining talent will be the most important strategy their banks will use to increase shareholder value.
'As European and American banks undergo large domestic workforce reductions, financial institutions in the Gulf region are struggling with a shortage of skills to support the growing demand for banking services,' remarked Accenture ME banking practice managing director Amr Elsaadanit.
'Our research suggests this demand is also becoming more complex, as customer expectations rise and regional competition heats up.'
'This will fuel the battle for talent in the region, as banks look for the skills required to develop more innovative products and to manage and grow their businesses,' he added.
The survey revealed that customers in the Gulf region were becoming more demanding and less loyal to their institutions.
Improving customer service was cited by executives as the single most critical challenge to attract and retain customers.
Meeting increasing demand from customers for online and mobile services was cited as a top challenge by 79 per cent of respondents. And, 71 per cent of executives said declining customer loyalty would be a major challenge.
The survey suggests that GCC banks must plan to respond aggressively to customer demands in order to stay competitive, said Elsaadanit.-TradeArabia News Service