Banks prefer Kuwaitis, even if they are paid higher salary

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Average percentage of national employment rises

KUWAIT CITY, June 26: For some time now, banks have been witnessing a silent struggle to attract national labor, especially the most sought-after, which led to the introduction of sometimes undeserved adjustments to the salary scale granted to citizens, in an attempt to maintain the targeted national labor rates and raise the efficiency of their competition locally, reports Al-Rai daily. In this regard, banking said the demand for banking and financial services employees, and specialists in technology and automation work, has generally doubled, during the recent period, driven by an increase in the need for them more than ever, while the job of the head of the strategic planning and follow-up unit at the bank is especially important, with the Central Bank of Kuwait obligating banks to establish a unit headed by a Kuwaiti.

What increased the importance of this job segment was the rapid efforts of banks to shift towards digitalization, and to expand locally in the application of governance, at a time when it was noticed that these vacancies were few compared to what was required of them to the extent that could enable banks to maintain their competitive capabilities ignited in Kuwait.

The sources indicated that the banking policy makers are ready to pay high salaries to Kuwaiti employees to ensure that their institutions are provided with the largest amount necessary funds to conduct their businesses, and to enhance their superiority in banking competition over Kuwaitization. The sources put the total banking sector employees at about 16,500, while the announced data indicated that the average percentage of national employment in all local banks rose from 34.9% in 2000 to 76% at the end of 2021, and the total national workforce working in Kuwaiti banks increased from 1,543 workers in 2000 to 9,859 by the end of 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 9.2%, while the total national employment in foreign bank branches increased from 112 workers in 2008 to 312 by the end of 2021. The number of Kuwaiti women working in the banking sector is 4,074 constituting 82.3 percent of the number of women working in the sector, and their number in Kuwaiti banks is 3,970 out of 4,810 female workers, or 82.5 percent.

The sources noted that some banks have recently resorted to offering generous offers to employees of other banks, especially Kuwaitis and that this behavior has recently grown, especially with regard to the jobs that are most in demand, in an attempt to lure more employees to fill their vacancies. The sources indicated that this situation led to rapid transfers between bank employees, specifically Kuwaitis, to the extent that some of them only continued in their job for a few months before moving to work in another bank, with a higher name and salary, although their job experience is usually less than the title they got, as well as the salary.

On the other hand, and during their competition for the ‘ghutra and iqal’, some banks are compelled to expose themselves to several risks, perhaps the most prominent of which is the loss of job loyalty, as the leakage of their employees increases to get a quick career leap in their career, which contributes to impeding the growth of human wealth to the hoped-for limits. One of the paradoxes of this case is that the demand for unskilled labor has not actually declined, but rather progressed in a number of areas. Some analyzes attribute the reason for this discrepancy to the increase in the functional value of the Kuwaiti component in banks.

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