Banks hired techies over bankers in 2018

Banks used 2018 to reassert their dominance in the IT labour market, often at the expense of their own kind -- bankers.

In a report into the top 20 companies that advertised the most vacancies last year, Barclays tops the list with 3,902 roles, the biggest chunk of which were in IT, not banking.

Annually, Barclays’ vacancies rose 16%, suggesting it has expanded its workforce -- nowhere more so than in IT, to ‘bring on the right talent to meet its digitisation goals,’ the report says.

But the best client of 2018 in the eyes of ContractorUK readers is far from the only tier-one bank hiring hard, as Barclays’ rivals also need to digitise products and services, suggests report author APSCo.

In fact, the second and third highest number of vacancies posted last year was at HSBC and JP Morgan, respectively, found the report’s compiler Vacancysoft.

Runner-up HSBC advertised 11% more vacancies in 2018 (taking its total to 3,497), and although its top vacancy posted was for bankers, openings for them narrowed by 23%.

For technology -- the second biggest area that HSBC recruited into, the number of vacancies almost tripled, from 343 (in 2017) to almost 1,000.

“It looks like we may be seeing a trend for IT professionals becoming some of the most integral positions for banks”, said the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

“[At the same time], vacancies for bankers appear to remain broadly flat -- or even drop in some cases.”

In 2018, Iain Mackay, HSBC’s finance chief, said in a strategy update: “HSBC will spend $15billion to $17billion between now and the end of 2020, much of it on digitisation [sic] and improving processes.”

Also last year, Tim Throsby, chief executive of Barclays, said digitalisation of the markets was “a key priority for us in order to provide the best service for our clients and shareholders”.

“Demand for tech talent intensified throughout the year,” the APSCo/Vacancysoft report says.

“Will we see this demand for IT professionals within banks increase [further] over the next few years as service offerings become increasingly dependent on digital and online platforms?”  

In the report, the decline in banker hires is put down to consolidation in the banking sector, “given that the pressures around Brexit are seeing a number of tier-one banks move segments of their operations abroad to mitigate risks presented by the UK leaving the European Union.”

By contrast, technology is ranked first in the report in terms of the top professions by UK vacancy numbers over 2018, with openings within the profession increasing by 28% in 2018, to almost 90,000.

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