Banking is flourishing in Saudi Arabia. Foreign firms are rushing into the market as the government launches a $400 billion spending plan and is opening up its financial sector to investment. However, the Saudi financial industry is having a tough time finding investment banking talent to fill the new job opportunities.
Finding candidates with experience in management positions, or specialist and technical skills, is a particular challenge, according to a story released during the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit that took place this past week.
The story quotes Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment, as saying “If you look at the rate the financial services have grown there are probably enough people to cover the ten (Saudi) banks historically… the pool of talent beyond that isn’t there. It reflects the growth of the financial services sector.”
And while there are Saudis working in the retail banking sector, a shortage of senior managers exists, particularly for investment banking jobs. Many firms are developing training programs to lure local candidates, but retention is an issue, too. Saudis who have trained abroad often switch firms frequently for increased compensation.
The government has set quotas for how many Saudi nationals that a private firm must hire. Presumably, this still leaves plenty of room for foreign-born candidates to work in investment banking jobs there. Which leads to the question: would you ever consider working in Saudi Arabia or any other Middle Eastern country, to gain international experience and bolster your career? Add your comments below.