HERE AND BEYOND
Human resources, as ever, decide everything
Media Room

Exclusive interview with Ofelia Kamalyan, chief specialist and head of recruitment & onboarding  group at Ameriabank, Gayane Khachatrian, the founder and a Board Member of the Armenian International Women's Association San Francisco Affiliate (AIWA-SF) and Susanna Khachatrian, AIWA-SF Executive Council member.

ARKA - How would you assess the labor market of Armenia’s financial and banking sector today? What changes have taken place in it after the consolidation of banks?

O. Kamalyan - The labor market of Armenia’s financial and banking sector has always been active and dynamic. In recent years, Armenia’s banking system has undergone serious changes, in particular, the consolidation of banks, which has affected the labor market. The number of banks as a result of consolidation has reduced to 17 from previous 21 and subsequently a large number of bank employees lost their jobs. The reduction has changed the situation in the market in terms of quality. Not only beginners but also people with extended experience are in search of work. Consequently, we, employers, have a greater choice and an opportunity to choose skilled and experienced employees. By the way, the reduction in the number of banks does not mean that highly qualified specialists will remain jobless. Banks that use the crisis in the market as an opportunity for business growth and for the consolidation of their position are interested in hiring professionals.
 

ARKA - In recent years, the banking system has been transforming into a more technology-based business. What new vacancies have emerged a bank and what specialists are in demand today?

O. Kamalyan - Development of banking technologies and remote banking services is, perhaps, another trend that will inevitably affect the labor market in the banking sector. In developed countries, this trend is gaining momentum: the need for competence and the number of personnel is changing - banks need more IT specialists. In Armenia, these processes are just beginning and, perhaps, are not yet very visible, but one can already see them manifest in the growth of banks’ demand for IT specialists. This can be observed on the example of our bank as well. Having transformed the ideological component of the business, Ameriabank is now implementing a strategy for the introduction of digital technologies, making concurrent steps to switch from traditional banking to digital one. 

Today we offer a wide range of remote banking services; we have a developed network of the most modern ATMs that carry out different banking operations. But when transition to digital banking is complete, the ability of customers to manage their finances independently, without visiting bank offices, will rise to a completely different level. This is why today we are trying to attract as many specialists as possible with IT background, who will be able to handle the digital transformation of the bank. I would like to take this opportunity to say that we have announced a new vacancy for the head of digital banking and are considering applications from both Armenia and other countries. We need a professional who is able to realize the bank's ambitious strategic objectives.


ARKA - What kind of difficulties does the bank face when looking for an employee, and how do you normally cope with this problem?


O. Kamalyan
- The problem of attracting employees is that IT specialists are very much in demand by the Armenian IT industry, which is very developed in our country. Besides, many young specialists in this field are trying to find work abroad, so there is a shortage of IT specialists within Armenia. In this connection, we are considering candidates for available vacancies not only from Armenia, but also from the Diaspora. Moreover, we have experience of attracting employees from abroad. I would like to note that the bank's personnel policy is quite diverse. We do not create artificial limitations for ourselves. Ameriabank is trying to hire the best specialists available in the market. On average, the bank opens 70 vacancies every year; we receive from 300 to 350 applicants for every vacancy and of course, choose the best ones. At the same time, the essence of one of Ameriabank’s personnel policy direction is expressed in the fact that we choose young people with great potential and then train them. We believe that in order to create a real strong team with a unique corporate culture, it is necessary to combine experienced professionals and young, novice specialists. Some 52% of our employees are people aged 25 to 35 years. 14% are those who are not yet 25.

We have a very young and energetic team. The bank is implementing the "Generation of Ameria" program, which allows us to attract purposeful young professionals aged from 20 to 25 years. This year we are holding the 7th program. As a result of this program, about 150 young people have joined our team. We have a long record of cooperation with advanced universities in Armenia: we attract the best students from economic and financial faculties and train them. Annually, about 100 students get an opportunity to pass internship and practice with Ameriabank.

One important aspect for us is repatriation. We are interested that young people, who receive education abroad, return to Armenia. Therefore, Ameriabank actively cooperates with organizations engaged in the repatriation of our compatriots. In particular, we are working with «Birthright Armenia (https://www.birthrightarmenia.org.) that provides students studying abroad with an opportunity to integrate in Armenia. We also work with the Luys Foundation (http://www.luys.am/), and recently started cooperation with the non-profit organization Armenian International Women's Association, San Francisco Affiliate (AIWA SF) https://aiwasanfrancisco.com/).


ARKA - How do you motivate your employees?


O. Kamalyan - We are working to become the best employer in the market and provide them with opportunity for professional growth. We understand how important the incentive system is. After all, the stronger the incentives, the higher the commitment of the staff to the mission and the tasks of the bank. At present, Ameriabank offers a package of benefits for employees, which includes special terms for banking operations, a package of insurance services, the possibility of training and education, and much more. The bank has a flexible policy designed to help an employee move up the career ladder. Ameriabank is always open to its employees, so they never hesitate to raise their concerns and take the initiative. We encourage newcomers to introduce new ideas and are ready to constantly transform ourselves in accordance with the demand of the time.


ARKA - I would like to ask a question the founders of AIWA. What does your organization do and how long have you been working in Armenia?


G. Khachatryan
- AIWA was founded by three Armenian women residents of Boston in 1991. Later, branches were opened in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Jersey, New England, Detroit, as well as in Armenia and Argentina. Today, AIWA is making a very important contribution to the development of a new generation of Armenian women. Our goal is to help them to believe in themselves, to realize their unique leadership qualities, to be able to fully realize their potential and participate in all aspects of society. A number of projects have been successfully implemented, in particular, a support for girls from low-income families through the "Our Hope" program of the Naghashyan Children Support Center in Yerevan.

As part of this program, girls were given the opportunity to get education. We cooperate with the Women's Resource Center in Armenia, creating opportunities for young professional women to get work and organize also trainings for teenage girls. In cooperation with the Women's Support Center, we provided assistance to the victims of domestic and sexual violence. We also sponsored an English language-training program in the village of Dsegh. This program not only gave young people the opportunity to learn English, but also helped the teacher of the village to do what she loved.

Together with the Children of Armenia Foundation (COAF), trainings were organized for health workers in rural areas of Armenia; an educational program was developed for girls of Avetisyan High School in Yerevan. Finally, all AIWA structures contribute to the growth and development of the Women's Entrepreneurship Program, founded more than 10 years ago in cooperation with the American University of Armenia, whose goal is to train women in the basic skills and knowledge necessary to conduct successful business in Armenia.


ARKA – What are the areas where you cooperate with Ameriabank, and what are the partnership plans for the future?


S. Khachatryan - At the initiative of the Ameriabank HR Group, a meeting with representatives of AIWA in San Francisco took place as part of the Silicon Valley tour. During the discussions, we found common ground. It became clear that our goals coincide, and we decided to cooperate. Our cooperation started recently, but it has already produced a result - one of the students of the American University of Armenia, whose training was paid by AIWA, became an intern at Ameriabank, and we hope that she will be able to successfully realize herself.

The cooperation between AIWA-SF, Ameriabank and the AUA is meant to give students access to high-quality Western-styled education in Armenia through the allocation of scholarships and the creation of opportunities for training at Ameriabank. The ultimate goal is to help promising students acquire valuable practical skills in a professional environment; successfully use their skills after graduation; and most importantly - to use their influence as a leader in the future decision-making and this way contribute to improving the lives of their native cities and the society as a whole.


ARKA-What are AIWA's plans for the future?


S. Khachatryan
– To continue working on our target programs, promoting women in matters of education and employment. In addition, we will also look for new partners to implement our projects. AIWA believes that educational programs are the most effective in Armenia, as they allow people to change their minds, help them become independent in their lives and move on their career ladder.

Source: http://arka.am

Updated 31.08.2017, 15:54
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