"Emiratisation efforts at Emirates NBD have always focused on attracting, developing and retaining talented Emiratis by offering them long-term careers," said Husam Al Sayed, group chief human resource officer, Emirates NBD.
A testament of its commitment to gender diversity, women constitute 44 per cent of the workforce at Emirates NBD. It is even more pronounced when it comes to Emirati women, who make up 77 per cent of the UAE national workforce in the bank. Approximately 35 per cent of Emiratis at senior leadership levels are women.
In order to promote UAE nationals' development, Emirates NBD has set up formal programmes such as the National Leadership Programme and National Management Programme to accelerate the careers of Emiratis.
Through its Programme for Accelerated Learnings, Emirates NBD offers UAE nationals one of the top accounting qualifications provided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW). The ICAEW qualification has three stages. Upon completion of all three stages, students obtain the Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualification, which allows them to designate themselves as a chartered accountant.
The Emirates NBD ICAEW qualification programme started in 2010. "We currently have 28 Emiratis pursing the ICAEW qualification, 16 of whom are in the professional/advanced stage," observed Al Sayed.
These students are provided on-the-job training in finance and internal audit. Some students are seconded to a Big 4 audit firm for professional experience.
Group human resources and group finance have dedicated mentors to facilitate UAE nationals in their ICAEW qualification journey.
"The number of ICAEW-qualified Emiratis in the UAE is very small, and four among these chartered accountants trained with Emirates NBD," informed Al Sayed.
In 2018, two Emirati women - Fatima Buali and Lubna Osama - completed their ICAEW qualification.
Fatima, who is now a finance manager with Emirates NBD, spent the first nine months in the financial reporting team and the rest in the asset liability management team.
"Initially, as a fresh graduate with a bachelor's degree in finance and a background in accounting, I was looking for a job in a financial institution that would allow me to enhance and apply the knowledge I gained to the growth of the organisation. As banks are known to be directly linked to the economy, I felt it would provide me with various opportunities and challenges, allowing me to further enhance my skills and knowledge," recalled Fatima.
She credits the Emirates NBD training programme to help gain exposure in various areas within the bank.
"I got an overall idea of how the banking industry works and then focused on how teams within group finance contribute to the bank's growth. It provided me with opportunities to apply my knowledge through hands-on experience," Fatima observed.
She believe that a career in banking is open to everyone, regardless of gender. "It is especially good for individuals, both female and male, who are seeking growth and challenges. There are various positions within the bank that one could take, depending on the responsibilities they are seeking."
Fatima recommends Emirati students aspiring to be chartered accountants to pursue the ICAEW qualification.
"This premium qualification sets you apart as a member of a highly professional body, which connects you to a wider global community of financial experts. The qualification ensures that students are well-placed to pursue the most interesting and rewarding opportunities at every stage of their career. Achieving this qualification requires a great deal of commitment and hard work," she concludes.