By NATARIO McKENZIE
A TOP Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) executive yesterday cited the inadequate Bahamian education system for forcing it to "adjust" its recruiting policy and target university students/graduates for even the most basic positions.
Tim Rider, RBC Caribbean's senior vice-president of sales, told RoyalFidelity's Economic Outlook conference that the Bahamas cannot allow the education 'status quo' to persist if it is to be competitive in the global economy. "The single biggest factor, in my view, that is now and will continue to lead to income and wealth inequality in the Bahamas is the inadequate education and training of its citizens," he warned.
Mr Rider said poor educational achievement, coupled with the Bahamas' one:one exchange rate peg with the US dollar, places the country at a significant disadvantage when international companies look to invest.
Highlighting RBC's own experience, Mr Rider said the bank has seen a "significant deterioration" in its ability to hire persons at the entry-level customer service representative post. He blamed this on many Bahamians lacking the basic math skills to perform their duties successfully.
"We are adjusting our recruiting policy towards only considering university students and/or graduates for all roles, including what we can consider the most basic. This is a continuing narrowing of opportunities for the Bahamian populace, and will provide a negative impact on income and wealth equality," Mr Rider said.