Royal University for Women (RUW) and Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB), held a remote symposium on “21st Century Skills in Financial Education” that highlighted the employment opportunities in the banking and financial services sector. The symposium addressed the skills required by various jobs in this sector, in line with its rapid developments due to the digital transformation, financial technology, Artificial intelligence, and others.
Dr. Waheed Al Qassim, CEO of the Bahrain Association of Banks, said that this symposium is considered the first integrated program organized by the association in collaboration with many universities and institutes in Bahrain to develop its curricula. He added that this program aims to expand its graduates' skills and knowledge to keep pace with the current and future financial services sector requirements in a way that guarantees strengthening the qualified and trained Bahraini cadres in various financial and banking institutions.
"The banking and financial services in Bahrain are witnessing substantial and accelerated developments directed by the leadership of the Central Bank of Bahrain. These developments are not present in many neighbouring countries, even at the level of the Middle East. This signifies a challenge for job seekers in this sector, but at the same time, they will have an opportunity to excel and move steadily towards globalization in the banking and financial service industry." Dr. Al Qassim added.
Dr David Stewart, President, Royal University for Women said:
"Royal University for Women is keen to provide quality education to its students and encourage them to pursue lifetime education, especially in light of the 4th Industrial Revolution where some jobs are expected to vanish entirely during the third decade of the second millennium, and to be replaced by artificial intelligence and robot. We must be aware and prepared for the huge shifts that the world would witness in the next two decades".
For her part, Dr. Mona Suri, Academic Vice President from the Royal University for Women said that this symposium in cooperation with Bahrain Association of Banks comes as the strategy of the university's keenness to update its students with the latest developments in many fields, including the area of financial services which is distinguished by vitality and continuous diversity. The panelists in the webinar were Mr Ahmed Albalooshi, Chairman of the Digitalization and Cybersecurity Committee at "BAB", Dr Riyadh Al Saie, independent board member at Eskan Bank and Ms Ruth Chanda Simuyemba, HR Head at Standard Chartered Bank.
During the symposium, Chairman of the Digitalization and Cybersecurity Committee at "BAB", Mr. Ahmed Albalooshi, stressed that the financial services sector is transforming remarkably due to the revolutionary technology, especially with the entry of non-traditional vendors in the industry such as technology and communications companies in addition to financial technology companies "Fintech." He added that employment opportunities have expanded for graduates who are familiar with both financial and technical aspects.
"In the year 2018, the human factor was performing 71% of the work within financial institutions, and this percentage would decrease to 58% in 2022 and to 48% in 2025 compared to the increase in the percentage of works carried out by technical systems and robots." Mr. Albalooshi added.
"The banking and financial sector will remain one of the strategic and vital economic sectors distinguished by its ability to develop diverse jobs that fulfill the ambitions of job seekers in terms of privileges and job stability, but these jobs will be available only to those creative innovators, committed to continuous self-education and who are able to keep pace with the large and accelerated technical development in this sector." Mr. Albalooshi said, concluding his statement.