As a developing country, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) needs to make the best possible use of its workforce for social and economic reasons. The workforce is diverse, calling for appropriate diversity management (DM). The thesis focuses on the banking sector in KSA. To date, there have been no studies on DM in the banking sector in this country. Many organizations have introduced specific policies and programmes to improve the recruitment, inclusion, promotion, and retention of diverse employees, in addition to the legal requirements existing in many countries. However, Western-centric models of DM may not be applicable, at least not in their entirety, in other regions.
The aim of the study is to devise a framework for understanding gender, age and disability DM in the banking sector in KSA in order to enhance DM in this sector. A sample of 24 managers, 2 from each of the 12 banks, was interviewed to obtain their views on DM in the banking sector in KSA. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. These themes were used to develop the questionnaire, which was administered to 10 managers in each of the 12 banks. After analysis of these data, and completion of the study, the research will make a theoretical contribution to the knowledge on DM and a practical contribution to the management of diversity in Saudi banks. This paper concerns a work in progress.
This paper is drawn from a wider study of the management of gender, age and disability diversity in the banking sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which aims to develop a framework for diversity management (DM) in this sector. The paper focuses on the management of disability diversity. The purpose of the paper is to assist in understanding disability DM in the banking sector in KSA and to make suggestions for its enhancement. Hence, it contributes to filling a research gap, as there is a dearth of literature on disability DM, in KSA in general, and in the banking sector specifically. Discrimination against people with disabilities is a social issue that has not been entirely overcome in any society. However, in KSA, Islam informs almost every aspect of daily life including work, and Islam is against discrimination. Hence, in KSA, there are regulations to accommodate people with disabilities; however, employers are still free not to hire job applicants with disabilities specifically because of their condition. Indeed, disabled people are almost entirely absent from the labour market. There are 12 Saudi-owned or part-Saudi-owned banks in KSA and two managers from each of these were interviewed, making a total of 24. The interviews aimed to investigate empirically the understanding of managers in the banking sector in KSA of diversity management, including disability DM, in the banking sector. The interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Two interviewees stated that banks used the employment of people with disabilities to enhance their corporate image, while five expressed the opinion that disabled employees could contribute to the bank provided they did not have to deal with customers face-to-face. Nine of the interviewees perceived that disabled employees could be of value to the bank for their own sake, not only in ‘behind the scenes’ roles. Another two interviewees mentioned that employing disabled people could be part of the bank’s community service programme and one thought it would be part of the bank’s Saudisation efforts. The remaining five interviewees did not know how disabled people could contribute to the bank. The findings show that disability DM in the banking sector in KSA is a relatively new concept, and is not yet well understood. In the light of the findings, in order to achieve the purpose of the paper, the following suggestions were made for the enhancement of disability DM in the banking sector in KSA. A change in attitudes towards disabled people is necessary. Such a change in the workplace can only be achieved if a top-down approach is taken to the integration of disabled people. Hence, it is suggested that management and employees follow a course in disability awareness. Further, a diversity officer in the HR department could enhance the integration of disabled people into the banking workforce. It is also suggested that greater government support is required through closely monitored and enforced anti-discrimination legislation. Moreover, flexible working arrangements such as part-time work would facilitate the employment of disabled people and benefit other groups of employees.