Bank IT departments opt to put it on visa

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A shortage of IT programmers with strong experience in banking and finance software systems is forcing Australian banks to go offshore to find the right people.

Many of the IT jobs being advertised are stipulating that visas into Australia are supplied, with recruiters pinning their hopes on getting experts in from Europe, Asia and the United States.

Ironically, the shortage has been created because Australian IT developers familiar with specialised financial software systems such as Fidessa, OMAR, AMMA and CTAC are being lured offshore by banks offering much bigger salaries that are not on offer in Australia.

"There's a very big shortage of skilled IT people and we are looking overseas all the time now," says Steve Hutchinson of Price Barnett Pty Ltd. "I bring people in from overseas all the time; that's my main business. But overseas banks are paying some exceptional salaries and Australia is competing with exchange rates at the moment to keep people in the country."

Rick Jansz, managing consultant IT and financial markets for BSI People, says a lot of skilled IT programmers are moving from Australia to Asia and Europe.

"Australian banks are now having to look to hire from Europe or Asia rather than spend two or three months trying to find someone locally," Jansz says.

"But it does add more process and more paperwork to organise, so they will be trying to get local people first. Then if a particular project is really critical or important, where they can't wait for another month, then they'll go ahead and organise visas. Otherwise they're not getting the skills they need to get their projects completed."

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