> CIMB Group Chief People Officer Hamidah Naziadin shares her thoughts on the subject
10 months of on-the-job training across various business units, and a one-year placement based on strengths and business requirements. Opportunities may also open up for career-enhancing exposure and experience via assignments or postings across CIMB’s ASEAN-wide network.
Last but not least, you do need to be creative and innovative. We also value diversity as an asset.
Do postgraduate students have an advantage compared to those who have a diploma or a degree when they are being considered for employment?
Yes and no. Graduates who are unable to translate their learning into action do not have any added advantage. But assuming that postgraduates are better equipped and are able to show how they can contribute better, they would have an advantage, of course. It depends very much on the role. CIMB is always on the lookout for talent that can contribute to the bank’s growth and market leadership position.
In return, candidates should expect a stimulating environment, working alongside other top talents, leveraging the most current industry trends and know-how, as well as opportunities to work on teams spearheading major market deals and projects, and providing innovation and thought leadership in the marketplace.
Is the group concerned about retaining workers or letting them go in favouring for better ones?
Like all employers, we want to retain our high performers. We ensure that the vision, mission and strategies of the group are clearly and continuously communicated to the staff.
We also ensure that we provide every opportunity for them to learn and develop either through training or career progression. We also need to provide a competitive remuneration package, benefits and activities to keep the staff engaged.
There’s never a good time to let go of employees. However, any decision to let go an employee has to be related to the needs of the business, taking into consideration factors like their performance and future potential.
Does the group encourage its current employees to further their studies?
Indeed. We have sponsorship programmes for our employees to further their studies that would benefit their work performance – be it a diploma, bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.
We have also tied up with various professional bodies and institutions of higher learning to provide such opportunities.
As a woman, what do you think are the challenges faced by female employees currently compared to those in the 90s?
I should think the challenges are fewer today with greater gender awareness in the workplace.
Generally, I believe with higher education and a more positive mindset, an increasing number of women have become more empowered and are better equipped to take on the challenges of building both a family and a career. Employers are also starting to provide more benefits to working mothers.
For example, more and more workplaces now have better maternity benefits. Our main offices in Menara CIMB and Menara Bumiputra-Commerce in Kuala Lumpur, for example, are equipped with childcare centres and nursing rooms.
We also have a Staff Rejuvenation Programme that allows staff to go on leave without pay for one to six months to manage personal commitments. For example, caring for family members who are unwell, or to pursue personal goals. HAMIDAH also has some advice for new graduates, especially those who have just graduated and are keen on entering the banking industry.
"I would say, 'keep an open mind and learn as much as you can'. Contrary to most people’s perception, I think banking is both challenging and exciting," she said.
Noting her 30 years’ experience in the banking industry, Hamidah said she has seen how banking has evolved over the years, which has come a long way and it has evolved in line with today’s technology-driven world.
"For example, in the past, customers had to go to the branches to get their business done but nowadays, you can do your banking from anywhere, at any time, with your mobile phone.
"Technology has disrupted and is continuing to disrupt business models like banking and the question always at the top of our mind is, 'How can we continue to serve our customers better and faster?'” she said.
Hamidah pointed out that technology has also created job opportunities within the banking industry, like data analytics, to better understand customer behaviour and needs, and improve the customer experience.
"To that end, we also organise competitions for university students like the annual CIMB Data Science Challenge, which is all about making use of big data, to unearth young talent for the firm," she said.
With CIMB Group being an ASEAN universal bank and present in 16 countries, Hamidah said the group requires employees with various different skills and talents as well as a more global mindset.
"One way for us to achieve this is by having the award-winning CIMB-Fusion programme, which is the only graduate management programme that offers exposure to two industries at sign up.
“Upon completion, the staff can choose to work with either CIMB or the Fusion partner (which includes PwC, Accenture, FCBKL, HP Enterprise, ZICOlaw and Teach For Malaysia)," she added.
As banking has also become an increasingly regulated industry, jobs in Compliance have also become much more important today than a few years ago.
She noted that banking has become more exciting and challenging as a career for today’s workforce particularly as CIMB embraces a culture of learning and support that talented young professionals will find rewarding.
"For those of you who are considering a career in banking, it is important to remember that integrity is key.
“You are dealing with other people's money (and trust) so you need to maintain the highest level of integrity and ethics," she stressed.
Hamidah noted that banking has become more exciting and challenging as a career for today’s workforce.