finance job seekers in 2014 --> Islamic finance educational establishments and training bodies continue to spew forth a steady stream of bright young graduates and executives into the marketplace. In 2013, like many years before, the prospects of these candidates finding a job within the Islamic finance industry were slim. The question uppermost in Islamic finance job seekers' minds is: will 2014 be any different? A swift look at the jobs on offer on efinancialcareers.com would suggest nothing much has changed yet. On 15 January there were only six Islamic finance jobs on offer and five of them were in Saudi Arabia. None of them was for new graduates and all required some level of prior experience, echoing the perennial call of all unemployed graduates: how can I get experience if no one will hire me? The global economic picture is looking rosier than it has in years. The US appears to be climbing out of recession and the Gulf is firing on all cylinders once again. Dubai won the Expo 2020 bid that is expected to provide a fillip to employment in the emirate. Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum , is pitching Dubai as the epicentre of the Islamic economy. Abu Dhabi is hoping to open its own financial centre soon that would have to offer jobs for bright young things, surely? Qatar is also experiencing a boom and is looking forward to hosting the soccer World Cup. There would have to be Islamic financing opportunities there. Recent news reports suggest that the new Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has more of a focus on the domestic economy and this could mean big projects for the local Islamic banks, which in turn would suggest that there could be jobs in the offing. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is actively trying to promote young Saudis in the workplace and hopes to decrease its dependence on expatriate labour. This could mean that hiring within banks in the kingdom dries up for foreigners looking for a way in. What of Malaysia ? The nation seems to be having a good start to the year but its proximity to China , which some observers say is groaning under the weight of its debt, could mean that the wheels could come off the Malaysian economy at any time. Malaysia has a dream of becoming an Islamic finance superpower but the reality is that salaries in Malaysia in general, even at the highest level, can be found to disappoint candidates from overseas. So, what is the Islamic finance graduate and job seeker to do in 2014? The Gulf would be the place to start with a focus on the three core growth markets of Doha , Abu Dhabi and Dubai . There will be jobs in other centres, but these are the strongest contenders. Then the focus should be on banks and Takaful companies that are doing well. Banks whose profits have shown significant improvement over the past 12 months or that are about to expand overseas could be the best bet. Noor Islamic Bank , Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank , Al Hilal Bank , Qatar Islamic Bank and NCB are looking like very strong contenders right now as they shake off the overhang of the GFC. It is easy to be disheartened by an industry that sometimes appears to be run by people who will never retire and who occasionally seem to be motivated by emotion rather than business sense but quitting would be the easy way out. The Islamic Globe welcomes comments from job seekers, employers, educators and trainers alike.
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