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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Islamic finance in critical need of talent

While staff-pinching is the blight for any employer in any industry, the lack of experienced staff and the recent explosive demand for Shariah-compliant products makes the practice especially hard on the Islamic finance industry. 

Islamic finance has been making inroads into mainstream finance and as a result, a huge demand has been created for experts in the field. 

The global phenomenon is that an estimated one million professionals are required to fill various positions in the Islamic finance institutions worldwide by 2020.

There is a shortage of talent in the institution and this has encouraged poaching as the “poachers” are willing to pay premium wages and therefore the rivals are caught in a game of “catch up” to fill the talent scarcity. 

Managers face the challenge of staff being poached on a regular basis. Companies should consider a much more open approach to talent management by facilitating long-term career development by facilitating internal mobility and moves between suppliers, customers and even the competitors. When you cannot get someone naturally, it is quite normal to poach for talents.

According to Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) CEO Dr Raymond Madden, the industry requires more professionals and skilled talents who not only have dual knowledge of both Shariah and finance, but also possess soft skills such as leadership and effective communication.

“The current shortage of qualified Islamic finance professionals is a challenge that poses a serious threat to the growth and development of the industry. If this issue is not addressed immediately, talent shortage may be an impediment to growth,” Dr Madden said.

Dr Madden who was addressing participants at an AIF conference on Islamic finance held recently, made reference to the Financial Sector Blueprint 2011-2020, where it stated that there is a need for an additional 56,000 finance professionals of which 40% is needed to serve in the Islamic finance sector for the total domestic market

“And although the industry growth is 20%, employment in the financial sector is only 9% per annum. This is serious as far as talent is concerned,” added Dr Madden.

Dr Madden coined the phrase the “talent game” to recognise that a career is about a series of moves just like chess and companies need to play the game to attract, develop and retain talent. He pointed out that the current shortage of trained and qualified manpower in the Islamic finance sector has led to an eventual spiralling of wages, which in the long term does not benefit the industry.

 “Talent pinching among the banks have resulted in higher wages but little improvement in productivity and efficiency. Most banks prefer to hire experienced staff who can hit the ground immediately. This has exacerbated the pinching issue.

(F.M.T News / 05 July 2013)

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