Stock - Digital banking
Banking at just a click away requires a full complement of techies to support the processes. That's why they are in such demand as UAE's new digital banks go live. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The digital banks getting launched in the UAE are not just creating opportunities for banking professionals – some of the best talent in data sciences and software development are taking up roles there. And with handsome salary packages too.

There are a lot of recruits that have already been taken in by the digital banks such as Zand or Wio, ahead of their formal launch of operations. Some of these candidates have ben poached from fintech companies – “The thinking is these professionals already have a grounding with tech and financial services,” said an HR consultant. “And digital banks are offering some handsome rewards too.”

A survey by Hays, one of the leading HR consultancies, showed 24 per cent of employers expect to spend 10 per cent more on salaries. And 45 per cent of employees surveyed expect an increase of over 15 per cent - which seems reasonable given that candidates with all the needed skillsets aren’t that many.

Jobs in blockchain, data sciences offer attractive compensation packages because these are highly specialized. Salaries can go up to Dh100,000 per month for senior to director level roles

- Waleed Anwar, Managing Director at Upfront HR

Hiring software developers

“A trend we have noticed is increasing demand for software developers comfortable working with blockchain technology such as Web3 and Solidity, hand in hand with traditional tech stacks,” said Jack Killeen, Consultant at Hays on the Technology team. 

It is a big indicator that a significant digital banking presence is on the forefront of everyone’s plans, which should see an even more significant demand for job roles. We expect to see an increase in salaries.

- Jack Killeen, Consultant at Hays

According to a survey, 73 per cent of MENA employers in the banking/finance industry said they would be hiring this year. In fact, banking/finance (34 per cent) emerged as the top industry that attracts or retains top talent in the UAE.

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at, sees a rise in demand for professionals who can handle all the tech advances in their respective fields. She expects employment opportunities to grow even more in the digital banking sector over the next few months. And not just limited to the standalone neobanks, even traditional ones are on the lookout for every sort of role that would report to a CTO.

Employees must be more than just skilled; they must also be adaptable to learn quickly when changes occur within their company or industry. So, specific digital skills have gained importance.

- Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at
  • These are the likely salary packages for these positions:
  • Cyber security architect's - Dh35,000-Dh60,000;
  • Data analytics manager - Dh40,000-Dh50,000;
  • Blockchain developer - Dh20,000-Dh30,000;
  • Cloud architect - Dh25,000-Dh60,000;
  • Senior developer - Dh25,000-Dh40,000;
  • In banking, the head of risk candidate can expect Dh35,000-Dh85,000;
  • Head of compliance - Dh45,000-Dh98,000;
  • Head of operations - Dh47,000-Dh77,000; and
  • Head of retail banking - Dh75,000-Dh138,000
  • Credit: Michael Page UAE Salary Guide and Hiring Insights 2022

Ask and you will get

Anita O’Connor-Roberts is the owner of AOC Consulting, a boutique HR sourcing firm. “Across traditional and digital-only banks, the war for talent aligns with the type of talent that fintech startups look for,” she said. 

This leads to an ‘employee market’, but the skillset is scarce as it tends to be relatively niche and competition not just from within the UAE but also across Saudi Arabia and the GCC as they look to enhance their cybersecurity, AI, and data analysis capabilities.

- Anita O’Connor-Roberts, Owner of AOC Consulting

A report from CFTE (Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship) shows IT-related jobs at banks growing from 15 per cent of the total workforce to 55 per cent as digital transformation brings about more changes to financial services delivery. And with the UAE putting in a lot of investment into fintech, expect to see further competition for the same talent pool.

And at even higher salaries…