Were foreign banks in UAE recruiting while local lenders downsizing?

Foreign banks’ workforce expanded 28 pc during 12 months to March 20

DUBAI: At a time when several UAE local banks have laid off their employees in droves, with Emirates NBD, the largest ‘lender’ in the country  alone having retrenched 1300 in the past few months, one would certainly be surprised to know that foreign banks have been quietly adding staff during the one-year period ending March 31, 2020.

According to statistics released by the Central Bank of UAE, while the number of employees with UAE’s banking system during March 2019 was 36,448, the number declined to 35,838 within a year, as of March 2020 – a drop of just 610 staff.

But during this period, the decline in workforce with national banks alone was much larger at 2176 as the number fell from 30, 767 in March 2019 to 28,591 a year later.

But the picture was totally different with foreign banks whose number of branches dropped by just one, from 79 to 78, during the one-year period under discussion.

The interesting fact is that the number of employees with foreign banks during the said period soared from 5681 to 7247 in a matter of one year, marking a smart growth of 28 per cent.

More intriguing aspect of this narrative is that the month of March 2020 alone witnessed an addition of 1283 staff by foreign banks. Does this mean that foreign banks have been on an appointment spree during this period?

Having said that, much of the retrenchment in the UAE’s banking sector must have taken place only since March 2020, after the impact of the COVID 19 onslaught have started making its mark.

businessbenchmark.news couldn’t gather any statistics on foreign banks as to whether they have recruited or retrenched their employees during the period after March 2020.

There were reports doing rounds in the media that banks including Emirates NBD, Barclays, RakBank and HSBC have gone for layoffs during the past couple of months, especially following the COVID 19 outbreak in a market that has been struggling even before the advent of the killer epidemic.


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