Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) aims to attract and develop UAE Nationals at all levels to create a talent pipeline for the future, says its senior official.
Sultan Al Mahmood, Chief Human Resources Officer, CBD, said the bank’s success over the years is directly attributed to the commitment and capability of UAE National employees, and it will continue to be essential to the bank’s growth.
“At CBD, we have increased the percentage of UAE Nationals working in the organisation from 28 per cent in 2017 to 37 per cent in 2023. We have had a clear focus on developing our talent attraction processes to ensure we attract top UAE Talent for roles in the bank,” Al Mahmood told Khaleej Times during an interview.
Elaborating, he said UAE National’s in senior management positions has increased to 35 per cent in the last five years. “This is also coupled with a steady rise in UAE Nationals in mid-level management over the same period,” he said.
Focus on Emiratisation
CBD was established in 1969 and is registered as a public shareholding company. The bank is listed on the Dubai Financial Market and is mostly owned by UAE Nationals, including 20 per cent by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD).
“We hired more than 100 UAE Nationals so far in 2023 across all levels from entry to top management level. CBD’s total workforce is 1,100,” Al Mahmood said.
The bank has built itself into a progressive and modern banking institution, endowed with a strong financial structure and strong management, as well as a loyal and ever-increasing customer and correspondent base. Today, CBD is one of the leading banks in the UAE and offers its customers a full range of retail and commercial banking products and services.
“Our commercial focus is to build deep and rewarding relationships in the local markets, and we know that attracting, training and retaining the best UAE National employees make that possible.
Emiratisation is a key focus and strategic objective for our bank. This is a key agenda item across board and top management team,” Al Mahmood said.
“We consider the recruitment of UAE Nationals a priority for our continued success. We aim to attract and develop UAE Nationals at all levels from graduate entry level, helping us to create a talent pipeline for the future, as well as appointing them in leadership and management positions,” he said.
“We continue to hire new-to-bank UAE Nationals to support the country’s aspiration to prepare their own people for successful careers in banking. We will also focus our hiring on critical roles such as compliance and risk, where you see significant regulatory changes,” he added.
Al Mahmood said CBD has successfully implemented various programmes to attract, retain, and develop Emirati talent in the banking sector. He specifically highlighted the UAE National Sponsorship Programme, Professional Certifications, Idikhar Saving Scheme Plan and Exam Preparation Leave to facilitate UAE Nationals in banking sectors.
CBD introduced UAE National Higher Education Sponsorship in 2017 offering financial support for higher education to UAE Nationals who display commitment to enhancing the bank’s performance. Under Exam Preparation Leave, the bank provides 10 working days of Exam Leave to employees for courses.
“The course being undertaken must be relevant to the employee’s job role and/or improve the capability of the individual’s contribution to the bank. This is available for both preparation and appearance in the exam,” Al Mahmood said.
About Idikhar Saving Scheme Plan, he said it is a tenure-based programme that allows Emirati employees to plan their future by saving through a scheme that guarantees exceptional returns. “This is a best-in-class benefit in the market and is available to UAE National employees. The programme also aims to promote a culture of savings and runs over a six-year period,” he said.
In addition, he said the bank has developed a number of targeted programmes for the development of UAE National talent within the bank.
Elaborating, he said the ‘Bedayati programme’ is a rigorous and transformative six-month learning and development journey. It is designed for high school graduates to impart intensive training, equipping participants with the knowledge and skills essential for excelling in the banking industry.
Preparing national talent
He also highlighted Tumoo7 graduate programme — a unique structured plan — to equip fresh UAE National graduates with skills that will prepare them for seamless integration into a corporate role after university. He said each graduate is assigned to a specific department where they undergo on-the-job learning while simultaneously attending formal training courses for technical and soft skills.
“Graduates are enrolled in high quality professional certification like Certificate Institute of Personal and Development (CIPD), Chartered Certified Accountant, ACI dealing certificate, Certified Anti-Money Laundering specialist, Certified Transaction Monitoring Associate, and Certified Know Your Customer Associate, among others,” he said.
Al Mahmood also praised Tumoo7 Future Tech Leaders Programme that empowers local talent in key tech roles, equipping them with essential knowledge and skills to drive CBD’s digital transformation and deliver exceptional digital services to our values customers.
“This two-year programme is developed in collaboration with Emirates Institute of Finance. With a focus on strategic as well as technological development, the programme encompasses three vital domains — Cybersecurity, Data Science, and Software Programming. By nurturing Emirati talent in these transformative fields, CBD aims to contribute to the UAE’s vision of becoming a global leader in technology and finance, positioning the nation as an unrivaled hub for financial innovation and digital prowess,” he said.
Al Mahmood also sheds light on key features of Oxford University Leadership Development Programme, Digital Accelerator Programme, and Corporate Credit Risk Analysis Program and said these plans are specifically designed to equip UAE Nationals with all the information and training in different segments of banking sectors.
“We have continued to enhance the quality of our programmes and increase our investment to ensure we continue to provide high-quality learning and development programs designed to meet the needs of a modern workforce,” he said.
“The bank has welcomed the graduation of 46 trainees from Bedayati programme in collaboration with EIF recently. We are also hiring 26 fresh graduates to Tumoo7 management trainee programme and Future Tech Leaders’ programme,” Al Mahmood concluded.