UAE banks have signed an agreement to restrict the shifting of Emirati employees within them in a bid to end persistent resignations and ensure they get enough experience, the head of the country's banking system has said.
Under the agreement, Emiratis working at a bank can not shift to another bank unless they have completed three years in service at the first bank, said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the Emirates Banks Association.
Quoted by the Dubai-based Arabic language daily 'Emarat Al Youm', Ghurair said the move is intended to put an end to repeated resignations and shifting by Emirati employees with the banking sector so they will gain enough experience and serve the bank which has first given them a job.
"Banks in the UAE have reached what we call a code of conduct stipulating that a bank should not appoint an Emirati working at another bank unless that employee has completed three years at that bank," he said.
"This agreement is designed to eliminate the phenomenon of persistent resignations and shifting by Emiratis and what has been termed as kidnapping of national employees by some banks so they can gain more experience in the banking industry and their number increases."
Ghurair, owner of Mashreq Bank, one of the largest banks in the region, said most banks are making efforts to lure in Emiratis into the banking career."They realise that Emirati employees are the best option for them....banks are now very tolerant for Emiratis in terms of qualifications as many of them employ nationals who only have a secondary class certificate and are not fluent in English...they are also qualifying them for the job," he said.
Ghurair dismissed what he described as complaints by some Emirati bank employees that they are being ignored in the banks' job promotion policies."On the contrary, Emirati employees get promotion as fast as three times expatriate employees as they are promoted twice every five years...but the problem is that some Emiratis who are promoted so fast reach a position which is beyond their potential and this is pushing them to resign."
The UAE has been locked in a drive to increase the number of Emiratis in the banking sector as part of an overall campaign to find jobs for its fast-growing native population. Despite a sharp rise over the past decade, Emiratis still account for below 15 per cent of the total work force at the country's banking sector and bankers attribute this to the fact that nationals favour working in the public sector for fewer hours and more financial benefits.
At the end of 2011, the number of Emiratis at the UAE's 23 national banks and 28 foreign units stood at 12,080 compared with 12,480 at the end of 2010.The UAE has the largest banking sector in the Middle East in terms of assets, which totalled around Dh1,741 billion at the end of March.