When Islamic finance graduates slip away and end up in different industries
Every now and then, I receive academic enquires or a request for career advice from Islamic finance students. I always keep wondering who will make the cut and join our industry. This is the sad story of how the Islamic finance industry is losing its young prospective foot soldiers.
I have always been fond of this topic and I am proud to say I was the first one who wrote about it back in 2010. It is correct to say the level of awareness on this issue has increased since then. Despite all of that, I can see many talents slip away and end up in different industries as they need to make a living. Those who take this path will be asking why they took this costly degree in the first place.
Unfortunately, many of these graduates, who are not lucky enough to hold a nationality of a country that does really cater to the development of its Islamic finance human capital, might follow such a path.
Islamic finance courses have become ‘cash cows’ to other institutions who jumped on the bandwagon. But we are not talking about online degrees which might be questionable in terms of quality of the training and education. Instead, we are talking about the cream of the crop — those savvy graduates who graduated from top business schools in Europe that offer a conventional and Islamic blend type of financing degree.
The first generation of Islamic bankers is the group that crossed the trading floor from conventional to Islamic banking to take up employment and were the ones provided with either bespoke training or learned their Shariah compliance on the job.
The propaganda of a shortage of Islamic bankers can be seen here and there but not as strong as it used to be. Nevertheless, has this been reflected in the recruitment process of Islamic institutions? Who can explain why the search for jobs in Islamic finance has never been harder at a time when demand for Islamic finance services has never been stronger? Would our industry at least consider granting more internship opportunities to them as we are slowly losing our human intellectual capital?
Each year our industry keeps losing Islamic finance students who become demotivated and depressed because the industry did not create the enabling recruiting environment that will welcome them.