The workforce in the Bahraini banking sector fell slightly in 2009 as banks trimmed employment levels due to the slowdown in the regional economy.

The total banking sector workforce fell to 8,946 from 9,582 in 2008. However, the total number of people employed in the financial services sector grew by 1.5 per cent to 14,137.

The increase was driven by non-bank companies, including insurance firms and organisations such as the Bahrain Stock Exchange.

The figures released by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) also show that Bahraini workforce in the financial services sector has risen. The CBB has taken a proactive role in advising financial companies that are looking to reduce their staff levels.

Banks such as Gulf Finance House have said that when reducing their headcount they have favoured more expensive expatriate workers, increasing the proportion of Bahrainis in their workforce (MEED 17:02:10).

Bahrain also released employment figures for the whole country on 9 March, showing that total employment rose by 4.4 per cent.