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The 'Cool' Factor: How Banks Can Attract Top Candidates to the IT Workforce

Bank CIOs are going to have to work harder to recruit the best IT talent as the importance of technology in banking continues to increase. We ask some of this year's Elite 8 how bank tech leaders can attract the IT workforce of the future.

Becoming an Employer of Choice

Offering workplace flexibility and a collaborative work atmosphere also are key to attracting top IT professionals, according to Joe Reilly, CIO of Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorp. He says his team's collaborative ethos and strong emphasis on balancing employees' work and personal lives have helped make the bank well regarded as an employer.

And as banks get more technologically complex, they will have an inherent attraction for IT pros, since tech-savvy professionals want to work in an environment where their technological acumen is tested and appreciated, Reilly adds. "As banks move away from legacy systems and continue to embrace cutting-edge technology, that will only help," he predicts.

[Four Keys to Building an Analytical Workforce]

Michael Redeker, CIO of ATB Financial, says the Edmonton, Alberta-based bank's introduction of its SAP core banking solution will be a key in attracting IT talent. According to Redeker, ATB Financial was the first bank in North America to roll out the solution, and he expects the new technology to give the bank a bit of a "cool factor" when it comes to IT recruiting. "What we find quite interesting is the number of folks who want to work for us to get exposure to SAP Banking," he says.

In fact, even IT talent from outside the country wanted some of that exposure. "As part of the program, we utilized a fair number of resources offshore who really wanted to come to Canada, who really enjoyed their time working with SAP," Redeker relates. "Our business partners help broker situations where folks out of India have come to work at ATB."

Attracting new talent is one thing, but just as important, says Charlie Lai, CIO and EVP of Orlando, Fla.-based Fairwinds Credit Union, is retaining and growing the talent he already has on his team. The key ingredient in that growth, he remarks, is to continually challenge his technology staff with new projects and initiatives that help them stretch their skills and develop new ones. "There has to be employee growth," Lai insists. "Engaged and informed employees are the most productive and loyal."

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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