Manama, Bahrain, May 9, 2023 – The right talent for Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs) is crucial at all levels, including the board level.
With global post-pandemic recovery, most IFIs have recovered and show an increase in revenue and profits. In parallel, Islamic banks started to recruit more staff as businesses expanded.
In the keynote address at the virtual event to launch the CIBAFI Global Islamic Bankers Survey Report 2023 “Talent Management Dynamics: Current Practices, Challenges, and Prospects”, INCEIF University President & CEO Prof Dato’ Dr Azmi Omar said that among the key questions faced by Islamic banks was to fill the organisation with the right talent.
The CIBAFI report indicated that more than 90% of IBs maintained that attracting, developing, and retaining the right talent was very important. This was especially true for senior- and middle-level management.
“However, an area that is less focused on is seeking the right talent at the board level. The board is responsible for reviewing and approving the bank’s overall strategies, businesses and significant policies. In discharging its responsibilities, board members must also be equipped with Islamic finance knowledge, among others.
“One recommendation is to make it mandatory for Islamic bankboard members to acquire Islamic finance knowledge as part of their annual Continuous Professional Development,” Dato’ Azmi added.
The CIBAFI Global Islamic Bankers Survey Report 2023 was launched in conjunction with CIBAFI’s annual meetings and events. The report also highlighted the skill requirements of workers in the Islamic banking industry. Among others, it highlighted the importance of possessing technical skills in IT and cybersecurity and developing high digital literacy, followed by creativity, innovation, and leadership. ESG skills were also rated as very important.
Interestingly, the findings of the Global Islamic Bankers’ Survey Report 2023 were consistent with the recently published World Economic Forum (WEF)Report on the Future of Jobs 2023. The WEF report listed analytical thinking as the core skill, followed by creative thinking, agility, lifelong learning, and technological literacy.
The CIBAFI report also highlighted the issue of limited collaboration between industry players and academia regarding educational and training programs relevant to industry needs.
Dato’ Azmi Omar said that universities must take steps to enhance their collaboration with the industry, not only in teaching but also in R&D. “Since its establishment, INCEIF University has always been at the forefront of industry-university collaboration. In fact, this was one of the mandates of INCEIF when it was set up by Bank Negara Malaysia in 2005.”
INCEIF University remained committed to its role in bridging the gap between academia and industry, particularly in working on impactful and practicable projects that would eventually be applicable and adopted by the industry. Its Board and Senate members are from the regulator and industry players, as their task is to ensure that INCEIF programmes – teaching and research– fulfil industry requirements.
In recent years, the university has introduced Action Learning to train students to become consultants. INCEIF and collaborating companies would jointly identify the issues faced by the latter, and students are then assigned assignments to find solutions to the problems. An example is the impact analysis and evaluation of Islamic banks’ social finance projects.
INCEIF also appoints prominent individuals who are captains of the Islamic financial services industry or senior board members of the industry as Professors of Practice (PoPs). Among the current PoPs are Bursa Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar and the CIMB Group Holdings Berhad Chairman Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad. Apart from providing advice on the academic curriculum and research, PoPs also coteach.