COVID-19 Impacting Technologist Outsourcing for Banks, Finance Firms

Like everyone else in finance, technologists in investment banks are working from home thanks to COVID-19. The work-from-home survey issued by eFinancialCareers (still live here) found that 97 percent of the technologists responding are in home offices, compared to 90 percent of finance employees across the industry as a whole.

Most technologists in banks are now working from home all the time, rather than alternating between one week in the office and one week outside. Sixty-eight percent say they’re enjoying the experience, but 40 percent say it’s hard or challenging. 

One of the challenges seems to be working with colleagues in offshored locations such as India. As a result of the virus, the entire world is working from home… not just people in the U.S. and Europe. And in areas of India, it seems that internet speeds can be too slow to work efficiently.

“Some of our people in India have had big problems with their work from home set-ups,” said a technologist at a major U.S. bank in London. “They’re running at around 5MB at home, which is barely enough for video calls.”

As a result, work is being done more slowly. Instead of using video functionality to discuss tasks, technologists are resorting to instant messaging, this technologist added: “Productivity is down.”

The issues come after banks have offshored thousands of technology jobs to India in recent years. Goldman Sachs alone has a huge campus in Bangalore, with room for up to 9,000 people working across everything from technology to support and ‘strats’ roles. JPMorgan has its own ‘bustling technology center’ in Bengalaru.

Offshoring to India worked when local employees were situated in well-equipped offices, but now that Indian technologists are working remotely, some are said to have trouble even getting a broadband connection. One technologist said the new way of working seems particularly challenging for female coders in Bengalaru: “Childcare responsibilities seem to be a particular burden for our female developers in India, as there appears to be a patriarchal attitude that they should be looking after the children. A lot of them are having to work evenings.”

Even so, technologists said increased working-from-home is likely to continue once the pandemic eases. “Now that everyone is used to it and most of the technical problems have been worked out, working from home is likely to continue,” said one respondent to our survey. Another suggested that working from home had even been good for communication between international team members: “We talk more now that no one’s in the office.”

A modified version of this article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.