Attracting tech talent for the new digital banking world

Today’s shortage of skilled IT workers stands to get worse as more industries and companies accelerate their digital transformations.

The modern financial experience is a digital one. And now that many banks have a digital transformation strategy to meet new customer expectations, they need a significant tech workforce to bring that strategy to life.

Here’s the challenge: The technology talent that banks so desperately need also have new expectations. At the top of their list is flexibility in when and where they work. This poses a greater challenge for banks, given many of them require workers to spend time in the office. How can they appeal to tech employees who have been working remotely or hybrid over the past year?

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Long-term thinking

Digital transformation doesn’t happen in one fell swoop. Many banks accelerated the first stages of their journeys, but now find themselves needing to refine and expand their efforts strategically to keep pace with customer needs.

Banks need to be far-sighted when it comes to determining their tech staffing needs, ensuring that they have who they need now but also have a plan for future phases of digital transformation.

This is only possible with a strong HR partnership. CIOs and technology leaders need HR’s expertise to identify the skills that already exist across the organization, as well as better grasp what roles they need to fill and where they need to fill them.

Candidate targeting

Recruiters face a challenge in finding local candidates and incentivizing them to come to a physical office. Reimbursing employees for commuting expenses, giving them a lunch stipend and allowing them to adjust their hours to avoid rush-hour traffic are all ways to attract new talent.

For some IT positions, it could be worthwhile to partner with local upskilling and reskilling organizations that are training non-IT labor or less experienced tech talent to increase their employability. Often these organizations work with underrepresented or underemployed talent to create new and better opportunities for them. This approach could give banks access to talent beyond traditional sourcing channels.

Banks can also further develop the talent they already have. As company needs evolve, so should employees. Banks can help current employees develop a niche tech skillset or train them for a different position. Internal mobility does more than meet talent demands; when you invest in your employees’ skills and development, you increase morale, loyalty and retention.

Focus on messaging

Having a well-thought-out employee value proposition (EVP) specific for IT talent can help employers better position themselves with top candidates. The EVP goes beyond perks and benefits in making clear why a company is unique and how that benefits employees.

While often seen as only something that HR and recruiters care about, the EVP is critical when trying to attract non-core talent. For some IT candidates, a big brand name in banking can carry less weight than a hot technology startup. Tech talent needs to understand how the banking industry benefits them in terms of culture, development opportunities, pay and more.

IT leaders need to think of what they can offer top candidates that could be enticing, such as opportunities to work with certain technologies or projects, or access to upskilling programs that could make them more valuable in the future.

Positive perception

More than ever, job candidates are prioritizing a sense of belonging when evaluating their next career move. The pandemic crystalized what’s important when it comes to work, and for most, that includes believing in a company’s mission and vision, and feeling appreciated and valued.

Financial institutions have led the charge when it comes to ensuring workplace safety, creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, and re-envisioning the future of the industry amid new customer demands. Banks have responded well to change and also taken action on issues important to employees and customers.

This perception can work in a company’s favor when hiring. Those who get this message across to candidates in an authentic way can attract candidates who are looking to work for a company that is making a difference.

The technology talent shortage isn’t a temporary issue. In fact, it stands to get worse as more and more companies accelerate their digital transformations. For banks, attracting this talent now is critical to meet rising customer expectations, and that is only possible with the right internal stakeholders, sourcing strategies, skills training and messaging to candidates.

Nicola Hancock is managing director, Americas at AMS.