Goldman Sachs, UBS, and JPMorgan Are Leading Banks’ Charge in the Race for Global Tech Talent

In the past few years, the emergence of FinTech has arguably been the biggest driver of change in the evolving FinServ landscape. The newer, nimbler startups have not only brought forward innovative business models and solutions but also brought about a much-needed cultural and strategic shift in the way traditional bankers perceive banking. With a growing focus on superior user experience, swifter mobile apps, data analytics, and open architecture driven by API integrations, the bid towards comprehensive digital transformation is pushing banks to incorporate more and more tech talent in their workforce. In this day and age, when tech giants are threatening to take away market share from FinServ incumbents, banks need a vast and skilled pool of tech talent to match with the Amazons, Alibabas, and Googles of the world.

Tech talent plays a major role in the digital transformation efforts by banks, especially with the dynamically evolving technology landscape in FinServ. Taking the Open Banking scenario as an example – out of the nine banks mandated to launch their APIs, only three of them (Danske, AIB, Lloyds) were able to launch well before the cut-off date. Interestingly enough, two (Danske, Lloyds) of these three banks had a tech-talent percentage of more than 25% of their total workforce. This proves that there is a clear correlation between a bank’s tech infrastructure and their readiness towards Open Banking.

In today’s world, when banks are dealing with state-of-the-art innovation in blockchain, AI, Robotics, Quantum Computing, etc., a dire need for competent talent pool with an expertise in these areas becomes prudent. Banks are now fighting it out in the war for tech talent and looking to hire more engineers and tech graduates. Inspired by the impact of FinTech models, banks are now increasingly looking at themselves as tech innovators – a major example being Goldman Sachs whose CEO called it a tech company as over 25% of the workforce are engineers. Another global bank which leads the tech talent charts in the banking community is JP Morgan which employs more than 50,000 engineers and tech executives – which is twice the total number of employees in Facebook. It is not surprising that both of these banks are pioneering the use of technology in banking. While Goldman Sachs is renowned for its use of software automation, as well as its path-breaking digital lending platform for SMEs called ‘Marcus,’ JP Morgan has been leading the way through its tech collaborations with several startups (e.g. Mosaic Smart Data) as well as its in-house AI algorithms (e.g. LOXM).

In a study conducted by Thinknum about the job openings for engineers by several leading global banks, it was found that Goldman Sachs, UBS, and JP Morgan were leading the race. The indicator used for comparative analysis was the total number of engineer job openings posted by select global banks as a percentage of their total job postings. About 25% of Goldman Sachs’ job postings were for engineers and developers, which is interestingly in line with the 25% of its workforce being engineers. Goldman Sachs’ hiring of tech talent doubled in 2017 compared to 2016. According to the announcements in company’s town hall in May 2018, Goldman hired 775 NAPAs (New Associate Programmer Analysts) in 2017, compared to 430 in 2016 – an 80% growth. Also, the number of lateral hires jumped to 864 last year from 335 in 2016, which amounted to a growth of 258%.

UBS, though with a smaller headcount, had 9% of job postings for engineers. Whereas JP Morgan had 8.17% of its job postings for engineers. These three banks are definitely setting the trend for other banks and FIs to follow suit and incorporate more tech talent in their workforce. The war for talent between Silicon Valley and Wall Street is well-poised to grow at an intense rate in the months and years to come.

Banking is changing, and so are the bankers.