Thoughtful outcomes through experience

Making retail banking IT the employer of choice

This article was first published in ITProPortal.

People are integral to the performance of every retail banking IT team. In an age of exciting new or different suitors, securing and retaining talent is becoming a significant challenge.

For the retail banking sector, the growth of new market entrants, new technologies and the changing needs of potential employees is making talent management extremely difficult.

Some 41% of the senior retail banking IT leaders in Peru's research - Turn to Face the Change - believe talent will be attracted to the GAFAs (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), with 37% accepting the current crop of FinTechs will also be a major contributor to the potential skills shortage.

The 2008 financial crisis, and more recent Libor and other trading scandals, has also led to a loss of trust in the traditional banks – both for consumers and employees.

An equal chance?

Sustainability, CSR, and gender diversity are often high on the list of values influencing employment decisions. With FTSE 350 Boards being targeted to change their gender proportion 2020 to 33% female, retail banks face a major culture change to reach this target.

Help may be at hand

Retail banks have three main options to meet these talent challenges:

1. Resolve the talent challenge within their own organisations

2. Use capability from the supply market

3. Acquire businesses which will not only add to their product portfolio, but inject new skills

In each case, the key will be to create sustainable relationships with the right people (and organisations), to help them navigate the complexities and competitiveness of the talent market.

Creating long-term relationships with highly specialised recruitment partners, such as PSD Group who have a good understanding of their organisation and the issues they face in sourcing the best people, will certainly help.

Outsourcing & acquisition

Along with the wider business benefits, outsourced relationships also bring pitfalls. In Peru’s experience, a strategic sourcing review can often reveal issues early, allowing retail banks to weigh-up the balance of outsourcing risk against an increase in relevant skills. Appropriate due diligence should be undertaken at the start of a complex outsource or acquisition, with regular monitoring throughout implementation and beyond, including regular contract and relationship reviews.

The Big Five

For any bank there will be a regular staff turnover for all the usual reasons. That, means a well-developed recruitment and retention process needs to be based on five fundamental principles:

  • Learn from the competition. Don’t rest on your laurels: proactively assess what competitors are offering and their tactics in the transfer market.
  • Play to your strengths. Understand what makes your organisation attractive, including rewards and incentives, training, remote working structures, etc.
  • Identify allies. Ensure you have a thorough approach to securing the best partners to support you in securing the optimum talent for your business.
  • Optimise your outsourced relationships. Ensure their own teams are fulfilling the potential you originally identified.
  • Accept who you are! A holistic approach to managing and retaining great people is hugely important for retail banks in particular.


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Peru Principal Consultant, Ashley Pick, worked for 15 years in commercial and procurement leadership roles for the IT and Telecoms sectors, with responsibility of budgets £1bn per annum.

Later moving to the Media, FM and the Public sectors, Ashley has been responsible for a variety of complex transformational programmes and  has broadened his cross-sector experience to include a number of change programmes in the Financial Services and FMCG sectors.

PSD Group Director, Gail Danvers, has worked in recruitment for 20 years, the last 16 with the PSD Group. Gail was instrumental in setting up and shaping PSD’s Banking & Financial Services practice and personally specialises in recruiting Director and C-suite level candidates.

With a wealth of experience at Executive hiring, Gail now works with an impressive range of Banks and Financial Services firms.


You can download the Peru Retail IT Banking Report here.

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