Key challenges faced by the UAE’s financial services industry when it comes to ensuring they recruit the best candidates to their firms are varied.
The lack of a central database holding key information about potential employees, including their personal financial status and debt default information is a key cause for concern in the industry, as is the absence of a functioning persona non grata - or PNG - list, identifying employees that have been terminated by banks or other financial services firms for reasons relating to fraud.
An absence of reliable information is exacerbated by references that fail to offer up meaningful information about a person’s employment record, leaving one bank vulnerable to employing an individual with a bad history at another.
Clearer guidelines and greater collaboration with the regulators were also cited as areas for improvement in the financial services industry in the Middle East, with many feeling that this would help mitigate some of the other challenges being faced, and helping ensure all firms have a greater grasp on best practice in the industry.
This is according to panelists who participated in HireRight’s, a company into employee screening, roundtable. Experts also identified the cultural challenge faced when initiating a full screening of potential employees in the region, where the concept is not widely understood, as an area requiring careful management.
Ensuring that candidates have a smooth screening experience is an important part of the hiring process, especially for those unfamiliar with what it can mean. But Steve Girdler, Managing Director, Emea and APAC for HireRight suggested that explaining the screening process and why it is needed for candidates from the beginning of the recruitment process can make all the difference.
“If you point out the screening process right at the start of recruitment, it’s easy,” said Girdler. “We screen 14 million people a year globally. We have to be an important part of the recruitment process and what you don’t want is the candidate experience to be tarnished by the vetting experience.”
An audience, which included members of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, heard how the recent UK legislation introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), regarding a greater degree of senior level accountability for managers within the sector might be felt in the Middle East.
Panelists from the international banks noted that they were often obliged to follow their organization’s tougher international requirements for screening potential employees, above and beyond local regulatory requirements.