Banks Scramble to Find Big Data, Security Talent

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Banks are hot to hire IT professionals with Big Data skills, reports Bank Systems & Technology. “The big deal is Big Data. If you can harness it, you can benefit, so financial firms are funding those initiatives right now and hiring individuals with that background,” John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology, told the magazine. Especially needed are people who can help keep data secure, “as well as anyone who can assist them with their mobile banking efforts,” Reed said.

The industry’s challenge is that everyone is chasing the same people, he noted, which is driving salaries up. RHT has seen compensation for such specialists rising 6 to 8 percent of late, though it’s noted some double-digit increases, as well.

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Given the sensitivity of financial data, it’s not surprising that security skills are at a premium. To get them, companies are looking beyond the banking industry to lure people from technology businesses and the public sector, so long as they have experience in networks and security. In addition, said Bhushan Sethi, financial services people and change leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, financial firms are looking for professionals with cloud, analytics and social media skills. “Every bank is leveraging Twitter around their brand and fine-tuning their response mechanism,” he said.

Technology professionals, Sethi notes, “are a part of everything these organizations do, from rolling out a new product or new channels and developing a service model to deal with them, to launching a marketing campaign and developing metrics to track its success.”

That indicates the demand for IT expertise will remain steady—if not increase—for some time to come. So does the regimen of government regulations banks must deal with. For example, the federal government requires banks to track loans at a fairly granular level, which is forcing them to continually upgrade their technology, reports American Banker. Those aren’t one-off projects. As regulations evolve, so will the technology needed to meet and report on them.

Notoriously buttoned-down banks are trying tactics besides pay premiums to lure and retain the expertise they need. Some are redesigning their workspaces to more closely resemble tech companies, offering, for example, restaurants and lounges for collaboration.

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