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Banking CIOs: a challenge of candidate-oriented market

Banking CIOs: a challenge of candidate-oriented market

Nowadays banking CIOs have challenging task to integrate two almost opposed surroundings: formal and regulatory driven banking industry and candidate-oriented IT scene with very strong tendency towards flexibility. Finding a balance is a must as digital transformation is here, and will be there, as strategic direction, and success cannot be made without stable and strong ICT division. Only those ICT teams whose main determinants are confined fluctuation, income satisfaction, appreciation, belonging and learning environment, can adequately support an ultimate task within the industry – a modern digital bank which leverages innovation, agile approach, technical competence, and digitalization of processes.

It is not a new, neither unknow fact that IT market has become candidate oriented. Supply-demand ratio is rather on candidates` side and the talent shortage sets certain topics and questions as key ones. Although there is a lot of talk about this, it`s not (all) about Sony, snacks or FitPass, rather important topics are: IT role in IT or non-IT industry? New technologies? Flexibility and remote options? Salary competitiveness in a specific industry or related to the whole IT market? Corporate culture and people relations? Inclusion of a number of these factors is very important. For example, an IT expert probably won`t accept a job with a salary that is below the market average. On the other hand, competitive salary by itself won`t retain the expert in the long run, if the culture is not transparent, belonging and development oriented. Balancing of the factors is important task, not only for HR, but also for CIO.

IT roles do not include only software developers, but many other profiles: infrastructure, security, business analysis, etc. Companies are different, as well as profiles, people and circumstances, and we cannot claim that all IT people require exclusive remote work or all of them used to chopped pineapple provided by the company. However, it is a bit harder to attract some IT profiles to banking, as well as to any other non-IT industry. The fact that banking industry might be perceived as burden with procedures and some processes might be seen as needlessly slow, is not a welcome start point, but there are some good practices and guidelines which can help attract and retain IT experts in the industry.

First of all, understanding and acceptance of IT market status quo is required, as well as determination to move forward on this path. Employment initiatives should not be based on serendipity; employment process should be efficient and not too long. If a suitable candidate has willingness and a good moment to change, do to personal or other reasons, this should be utilized right away. Even one week later might be too late, so no additional time should be spent. For example, efficient process doesn`t include putting a good candidate on hold while recruiting additional one in order to compare them. Efficient process includes comparison of interested candidate with an ideal model and moving on to the next stage based on previously defined pass-through metrics. Similarly, internal approval processes should be as short as possible.

Salaries should be observed not only in relation to the same or similar roles within the industry, but in relation to the same and similar roles within the whole market, including IT companies. Continuous tendency towards the market competitive salaries is important in order to prevent the possibility of resignations due to offered higher salaries for similar jobs within another industry. Salary is important criteria, but not sufficient one. There is also exposure to interesting projects and new technologies. Flexible work schedule, too. There is a continuum of possible flexible option, from periodic WFH models to establishment of a separate development or competence centre, as often considered in many different non-IT companies.

And the last but not least, the role of ICT leader is significant – leader`s values, behaviors, broader perspective and culture the person has been creating and living, can make significant change. A CIO who takes care of his team and culture in the team, who appreciates belonging, learning and exposure to desired projects or technologies, who has integrity and openly communicate the strategy, who underlines importance of value proposition understanding, a true leader, is extremely important factor in ensuring stability and positive spirit within the team.


Ana Santovac, Partner
Dr. Heimeier Executive Search doo
Ziegel House, Nebojšina 36, Belgrade, Serbia
Mob.: +381 63 24 66 50

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