South African banks fighting over scarce IT skills

South African banks are at battling to find qualified IT professionals and are competing with each other over a dwindling supply of skilled workers, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

Standard Bank, Absa, Nedbank, and FNB all said that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled IT workers to aid in their digital migration efforts.

The banks have implemented a number of new hiring tactics to try and attract skilled South Africans, including “speed-dating” events where a large number of candidates undergo quick interviews in an effort to hire qualified IT professionals quickly.

It can still take months to hire these employees however, and banks are finding themselves paying much higher salaries to outbid the competition for skilled workers.

Standard Bank CIO Alpheus Mangale told the Sunday Times that it faced a major shortage of cloud engineers to maintain its online systems.

When banks do find these skilled workers, they can expect to pay these employees up to 30% more to retain them, he said.

Absa, FNB, and Nedbank also stated that they are paying a premium to hire skilled IT workers due to the country-wide shortage.

WeThinkCode co-founder Yossi Hasson said the global shortage of qualified IT candidates is exacerbated in South Africa by problems in public education, a lack of Internet access, and emigration.

Emigration and skills shortage

Qualified professionals are leaving South Africa in droves, citing the ongoing problems of crime, economic uncertainty, and political problems as reasons for their emigration.

This has become increasingly apparent in emigration statistics, and for every skilled worker coming to South Africa, eight are leaving.

MyBroadband’s 2019 IT Salary Survey reflects the same issue as the one outlined by local banks, revealing that 46% of IT professionals in South Africa are planning to leave permanently or work abroad in the near future.

Tech talent marketplace OfferZen recently told MyBroadband that there was a significant demand for skilled IT workers, with companies offering additional benefits and opportunities to candidates in an effort to fill positions.

“Tech professionals tend to have the luxury of taking their pick,” OfferZen said.

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