Far from American Layoffs, Middle Eastern Banks Hire

By Stewart, Jackie | American Banker, December 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Far from American Layoffs, Middle Eastern Banks Hire


Stewart, Jackie, American Banker


Byline: Jackie Stewart

While American bankers face layoffs, their Middle Eastern peers are laughing all the way toa[bar]well, the bank.

Demand for skilled bankers in the Gulf region has outpaced supply, according to a recent report by the consulting firm Accenture.

Aside from new regulation, a skills shortage was cited as the biggest challenge facing the Gulf Cooperation Council banking industry, according to Accenture. The survey, released on Nov. 29, found that 89% of respondents thought that attracting and retaining talent will be the most important strategy their banks will use to increase shareholder value.

Now the region's banks are looking to hire or transfer bankers for high-end, skilled positionsA a with the paychecks to match.

Gulf region banks "are revamping compensation models as they are looking at how to be more attractive to employees," says Amr Elsaadani, the managing director of Accenture's banking practice in the Middle East. "They believe now is the time to align better compensation to performance."

This trend marks a sharp contrast with American banks, which are shedding thousands of banking jobs. On Tuesday, Citigroup Inc. became the latest big company to announce cuts. Chief executive Vikram Pandit said that his company would eliminate 4,500 positions in the coming months.

Accenture surveyed 47 executives of local and global banks with retail and corporate businesses in six Gulf Cooperation Council countries: Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. …

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