Historically across the world people went into banking jobs when they left school and banking was their job for life. The first role was nearly always as a bank cashier, then maybe progressing to assistant manager and manager.
Not so very long ago with the advent of so many new financial services a huge variety of positions rapidly became available as loan and credit card departments as well as insurance related products joined the banking industry.
Fast forward to the present and the list of banking related jobs in Dubai as elsewhere in the world is pretty much endless. Customer banking, commercial banking, investment banking, human resources, marketing and public relations, accounting, administration and IT now all play a part in the running of a busy bank.
Not all of a banks employees have customer facing roles, there will be as many people working behind the scenes, if not more, than the public ever see. The main customer facing roles are generally as a cashier, in customer services, as an account manager or lending manager.
Banking staff in Dubai generally work 48 hours per week. Thursday and Friday were the traditional days off but as this was reducing trading hours globally to just three days a week many banks have changed. For many bank employees Friday and Saturday are the days off but some banks still have half of Thursday and all day Friday off. Hours are around eight per day but that will depend on the position worked. Some behind the scenes jobs will require a 24/7 schedule in which a shift pattern will be worked.
An excellent point to remember is that if you leave or get fired from your job in a bank or financial institution you will find it almost impossible to find another job in a similar role. It is quite normal for your work contract to state that you cannot work in a related industry for at least twelve months.
There are many websites with information on how to get a banking job in Dubai and many of them paint a rosy picture of high salaries and a fantastic lifestyle. What they don’t tell you is just how difficult this industry is to get into these days because this is one employment sector that has a definite preference for nationals. Competition is fierce as there is pool of local talent now in the region and local experience and knowledge of the market is considered highly desirable.
Finding and applying for a banking job in Dubai has never been easier. The internet makes it simple to send your CV from anywhere in the world without worrying about the postal service. Interviews can be conducted by face-to-face telephone calls and documents emailed within seconds.
The application process is tough. There can be multiple interviews to get through, deep checks into references and background history and some companies will demand a psychometric test.
There are various ways of looking for work which can involve looking at the websites of specific banks to see if they have any vacancies, or looking through recruitment agency websites. www.bayt.com/ is an excellent Middle East job website and www.jobsindubai.com is Dubai’s largest recruitment website. The www.emirates247.com/ website has excellent general information as well as a comprehensive jobs section.
If you are already living in Dubai many banks and/or agencies have walk-in interviews days. Keep an eye on their websites to find out the dates and times of these open days and of what jobs are available. Some companies have a mailing list you can join to get advance notifications of jobs.
You can also use our handy guide to getting a job using LinkedIn to get started!
An entry level job as a bank cashier can start at around AED 1,500 – AED 5,000 per month while at the top of the tree the CEO of a bank might earn AED 150,000 for the same period. A starting salary of AED 38,000 or so can be achieved but this will require probably eight to ten years previous experience in a similar position. Salary can be very dependent on nationality with workers from the West and local workers generally receiving higher wages than people from India or Pakistan.
The days of perks are more or less over but in some positions you may be lucky enough to be offered a personal or bank related performance bonus.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Ajman Bank, Commercial Bank International, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC Middle East, Citibank, Barclays Bank, Union National Bank.
Some of the banks listed have careers sections with details of the positions currently available; others ask that you send a CV to the HR division. A quick look through many of the jobs being advertised will see that they state only UAE nationals need apply.
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to secure a job in a bank in Dubai. Preference is now being given to UAE nationals or expats that have ridden out the recession and are still living in the country or people that have lived there previously and who are looking to return. Qualities being looked for in new employees are cultural awareness, regional understanding and Arabic capabilities. For anyone looking to find employment in one of the Islamic banks an understanding of Sharia Law is essential.
Nearly all banking jobs in Dubai will require previous experience in a similar position and a high communication level in English and Arabic. Even for basic entry level jobs, if you can find one, graduates with a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree are preferred. Don’t apply for jobs that you don’t meet all the qualifications for; if an advert says you need fluent Arabic being able to say hello and goodbye will not be enough!
Banks want people not just with the right qualifications, they want excellent personal presentation and if you have a history of customer facing jobs that is even better. Most banks will give preference to someone with a UAE driving licence and who is available for an immediate start.
Not so many years ago a relocation package came more or less as standard to anyone moving to Dubai. The perks of free flights, subsidised accommodation, free schooling and maybe a car was enough to attract a great many foreigners to make the move to desert. Nowadays it is very rare to find any companies offering these perks especially for lower and mid-range jobs. At very senior management level it is still possible to find positions offering a full relocation package, but they are few and far between now.
It is far more usual to find jobs on offer now that offer an initial flight to Dubai, accommodation in a hotel or shared company apartment for the first month, one return flight to your home country per year and standard healthcare insurance. If you decide to leave the job or get fired within the first year you can be liable to pay back in full these costs.