The battle for tech talent is heating up, and many banks are stepping up their efforts to keep up.
Small and midsize banks are experiencing labor shortages because of this conflict: Only 28% of 122 executives at U.S. banks with assets under $100 billion (about $310 per person in the US) said they had a chief digital officer or equivalent, 25% said they had programmers and developers, and 13% said they had data scientists, according to a 2021 technology poll from Bank Director.
Fintechs and nonbank technology enterprises that pitch themselves on an innovation-friendly culture or flexible remuneration structures that recognize freshly earned certifications, such as for cloud computing, compete with banks for tech recruits. Employees who pursue satisfaction outside of a typical organization are leaving all of them.
“Banks are not just competing with other companies for talent, but with individuals who want to be doing other things with their lives.”Bridie Fanning, Talent and Organization Lead for Banking At Accenture
Financial organizations such as Citizens Financial Group, KeyCorp, and M&T Bank have been educating existing employees to take on new tasks, recruiting talent from more diversified groups, and hiring with a view to the future by relying on their reputation as trusted brands.
For instance, M&T in Buffalo, New York, had made a determined attempt to enhance technical talent not only within the corporation but also within the city. Many technical training and apprenticeship programs have been developed by the $155.1 billion asset organization in recent years.
Their Technology Development Program provides intensive software development instruction to recent college graduates. Its Tech Academy offers training to M&T personnel as well as other businesses in the area. A data analytics boot camp and the WNY Tech Skills Initiative, which has offered free digital skills training to 3,000 people in western New York during the epidemic, are part of the latter. Last year, M&T inaugurated its Tech Hub in downtown Buffalo as a workspace for employees as well as the headquarters for its Tech Academy.
Even as it accelerates its cloud deployment, the bank is addressing a need that Fanning warns institutions not to overlook keeping workers who are experienced with mainframe and older systems.
The Z Development Program, or ZDP, is a collaboration between IBM and other companies that trains entry-level engineers to support basic banking tasks on M&T’s IBM Z mainframe. In 2021, the bank employed its first group of 10 apprentices, and 13 more were recently hired.
“Banking continues to leverage the mainframe, but it is not necessarily where the RITs [Rochester Institute of Technology] or Georgia Techs or Carnegie Mellons are training anyone in those languages. That [programming] language is underserved by the more traditional pathways in universities.”Mike Wisler, Chief Information Officer of M&T
Citizens Bank, located in Providence, has also invested in reskilling, and upskilling its own employees. Many years ago, the bank chose to shift from purchasing software for mortgage loan organization, student loans origination, and other functions to developing applications in-house. Technical workers hired as computer engineers had shifted more into program management or had outmoded skill sets, making the bank more reliant on vendors.
“We had lost some of that engineering muscle.”Michael Ruttledge, Chief Information Officer of the $188 billion (about $580 per person in the US)-asset Citizens.
Over the last two and a half years, the bank has reskilled almost half of its technical team and hired 400 engineers to address this issue. The bank launched a nine-week engineering academy to teach employees how to write modern code, build application programming interfaces, and utilize modern development strategies such as DevSecOps (or development, security, and operations, an approach that integrates security into software development) and automated testing. It has also launched boot camps and hackathons on subjects like full-stack development and machine learning. To attract a more diverse staff, it has collaborated with groups such as Girls Who Code and Year Up.
“It’s critical for technologists to be in an environment where they are constantly offered more learning and projects where they can stay at the leading edge of technology. People entering the workforce today don’t want to be out of date in five years.”Bridie Fanning
KeyBank in Cleveland is looking ahead with Future Ready, a program launched in 2018 by chief information officer Amy Brady that fosters ongoing education by allowing workers in Key’s technology, operations, and services division to attend courses and study coworkers. Also, an offshoot named Tech Ready allows exceptional performers in operations or services to begin a new career path by attending a coding boot camp. Through this initiative, Key has trained 34 individuals for technical responsibilities, with more than 40% of them being women.
“We wanted to be very upfront with our employees that in the future, there are jobs at Key that may change. We’ve tried to be very transparent about where we are shifting.”Amy Brady, in a July 2021 Interview
In January 2021, the $182 billion (about $560 per person in the US)-asset bank launched a technology onboarding program to teach new workers about such responsibilities at Key so they may better comprehend the bank’s culture and objectives. It intends to create “career playlists,” or training and development journeys, for employees to choose from in 2022 to obtain emerging and specialist skills.
According to a recent Accenture study, collaborative culture and flexibility are critical to keeping bank staff over the long run.
When it comes to recruiting, banks position themselves as both secure and progressive places to work.
“We are big enough to have access to the kinds of problems to which someone with great technical skill wants to apply their craft. At the same time, we are small enough to be nimble, to feel like you are part of something.”Mike Wisler
Citizens equivalently describe themselves.
“The type of engineering caliber that goes to fintechs tends to be people interested in problem-solving and unique technology. We have that next-generation technology strategy.”Michael Ruttledge
In a January interview, Greg Keeley, senior executive vice president of platforms and technology at TD Bank Group, admitted that the bank is targeting the same talent that technology firms are, especially rapid, automation capabilities, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and cloud. The Toronto-based bank expects to add 2,000 technology professionals this year on both sides of the border and is relying on its shift to a “platform approach,” in which teams collaborate rather than operate in isolation, to attract new business.
According to Hicham Zahr, head of insights and analytics at Eightfold AI, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to uncover talent, another strategy banks might employ during recruitment is to expand the pool to consider people with “near” capabilities and hire for that potential.
“There is no need to tap into the same resource pool of Python developers. It lets you expand your pool of talent.”Hicham Zahr
Information from American Banker