As U.S banks continue to lay off thousands of employees, job opportunities are increasingly cropping up in emerging markets.
According to a report by Accenture, financial institutions in the Gulf are racing to adapt to more demanding customers, but at the same time they are facing a serious shortage of skilled bankers. The survey found that 69 percent of executives from the largest banks in the Gulf region cited a skills shortage as the biggest challenge facing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCG).
This is indicative of a broader trend, which is seeing an increasing number of job opportunities shift to emerging markets just as Western banks, from UBS to Citi and Credit Suisse, are laying of thousands of employees.
In China, 95% of financial industry professionals acknowledge a skills shortage, with more than 28% seeing it as "chronic," according to eFinancialCareers. India too is undergoing a shortage of skilled bankers: research shows that the country will need to fill 5 million financial sector jobs by 2015.
In the Gulf region, Accenture's survey of 47 C-level executives from the banking industry in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates revealed that attracting and retaining talent will be the most important strategy their banks will use to increase shareholder value, according to 89 percent of respondents.
As competition heats up in the region fueling the battle for talent, "banks will be looking for the skills required to develop more innovative products and to manage and grow their businesses," commented Amr Elsaadani, managing director of Accenture's banking practice in the Middle East.
U.S. bankers take note: to address skill shortages and retain talent in the Gulf region, banks are revamping compensation through higher salaries and bonuses (51 percent) and are increasing transparency in career paths (47 percent). More than half the banks surveyed (53 percent) have also instituted coaching and mentoring programs.