DIFC and Hewitt Associates to Boost Region's Knowledge Economy

Key study to profile UAE's Financial and Banking talent landscape

DUBAI, UAE- The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), today announced the launch of a pioneering talent study in the Banking and Financial Services Industry in the UAE, in collaboration with Hewitt Associates, a global management consulting company. The study will create a profile of the talent landscape in the UAE's Banking and Financial Services Industry and identify key areas for development.

The study reaffirms the DIFC's ongoing commitment to assist the Dubai Government on its 2015 Strategy to add 882,000 employees to the region's workforce by 2015, bringing total employment to 1.73 million with a significant move towards higher skilled employment. In addition, the study will play a key role in encouraging an increase in productivity, in line with the Government's aims for an increase of 4% per annum.

The study will identify crucial gaps in the demand and supply of locally available human resources and specialized skills relating to Banking and Financial Services Industry. The research relies on both primary and secondary sources of information with in-depth interviews with some of the leading experts from the industry and academia, as well as Hewitt's extensive database including its Annual Middle East Banking Compensation Benchmarking Study.

HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC said: "The financial industry in the Middle East has experienced unprecedented growth and development in recent years. As a key component of the Dubai Government's 2015 strategy, the industry is expected to continue its expansion and become a leading contributor to the region's economy. For this to occur, the DIFC recognizes the need to develop a well trained, educated and skilled local workforce capable of driving the industry successfully into the future."

Nasser AlShaali, CEO of the DIFC Authority said: "The banking and finance industry is one of the most critical sectors of the economy and its sustained growth in the region will depend on its ability to generate the skilled talent that can meet the industry's changing demands. The study that we are conducting in partnership with Hewitt Associates will be particularly useful in identifying strategies to foster human capital development in this sector. We look forward to working closely with Hewitt Associates to carry this study forward."

The report's findings will also have important implications for the UAE's education sector as it will identify the academic programmes and specializations needed to meet the human resources requirements of the burgeoning international financial services sector which is estimated to contribute almost 15% of Dubai's GDP by 2015 and is an integral part of the Dubai Strategic Plan.

Nabil M. Ramadhan, Chief Human Capital Officer, DIFC Authority added: "It is essential to facilitate learning and career opportunities for UAE nationals to truly become active participants in the region's economic development. Through our strategic alliance with Hewitt, the DIFC will help to boost local human capital by utilizing its expertise as a leading hub for the international banking and finance industry to promote the creation of a sustainable knowledge economy. The findings of this study will be shared with key government authorities,and its recommendations will be used to develop the talent pool for the region's banking and financial services industry with a focus on UAE nationals."

Commenting on the announcement, Debabrat Mishra, Consulting Business Leader, Hewitt-Middle East, said: "This is a very exciting project and we are honoured to be working with the DIFC on this project. This collaboration reflects the mutually shared goals of our respective organizations. DIFC is pioneering the ongoing development of the Banking and Financial Services Industry in the UAE in order to reaffirm its position as a leading global financial center. Similarly, Hewitt has been providing world-class human resources consulting in the Banking and Financial Services Industry in the Middle East for over seven years. Thus, there is a natural synergy between Hewitt and DIFC and, through our strategic alliance, we will address the talent needs of the UAE and assist on its journey to becoming a leading international financial center".

The landmark study deploys Hewitt's six decades of experience in world-class HR consulting and leading-edge training and development programs, to create a profile of the talent landscape in UAE's Banking and Financial services Industry.

In keeping with its relevance for academics, students and job-seekers, the first findings of the research project will be revealed on April 16th, the second day of the Careers UAE, following which Hewitt will facilitate a panel discussion among representatives from key Banking and Financial Services Companies and locally based Academic institutions.

The second phase of the study will be revealed at a later date, post Careers UAE 2008, with more micro-level details on industry segments such as Regulatory Bodies, Insurance Companies, Islamic Insurance and Banking, Retail and Consumer Banking, Capital Markets, Investment Banking firms and Private Equity institutions.

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