(MENAFN - Arab News) Most commercial banks across the country have been losing employees steadily over the past four years, lured by higher-paying and more secure jobs in the public sector, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Employees are also moving between rival banks because of the increased competition in the market. With more banks opening branches, this movement includes employees in leadership, mid-level and front-desk jobs, the newspaper reported.
A banking official quoted by the newspaper said the problem started four years ago but the rate of movement increased when the Saudi government
announced there would be higher salaries for citizens in the public sector.
The official said that the situation marked a turnaround from the time when bank employees were "more privileged than those in the public sector."
For banks to close this gap, it should try to attract more specialized college graduates. However, this is also a problem because banks face the high cost of training these new employees.
The loss of experienced employees often results in banks losing many customers.
Most banks do not ask for help from the Institute of Banking of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency because the institute has not yet developed procedures to deal with the varying demands of commercial banks.
In addition, there are a number of foreigners working in leadership positions in these banks, "particularly those that acquired shares in foreign markets," the official added.
Ahmad Al-Enzi, a financial expert, said there are many Saudis work in the banking industry, but higher pay and benefits announced by the government have attracted many to the public sector.
He said it takes a bank between six months and one year to train a new employee.
However, he pointed out that financial analysts are not moving to the public sector because their jobs are highly specialized and in demand in the banking industry.
As a result, many banks are now offering higher salaries to retain and attract experienced staff.
Talat Hafez, secretary general of the media and information committee of Saudi banks, disagrees with the assessment that banks are losing their employees. He said the sector is attracting many young Saudi men and women.
He said there are incentives in the industry including good training, higher pay and other benefits for the youth.
There are 11 foreign banks operating in Saudi Arabia with limited services compared to local banks.