Aussie banks get set for IT hiring spree

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Get out your Java handbook. Australian retail banks are going to upgrade their IT systems and plan to spend billions doing it. But not all the jobs created will be in Australia.

Firms will be jostling for candidates for hundreds of positions. National Australia Bank, which expects its upgrade to cost AU$1bn, is talking 600 new jobs. It will be sending some of its technology platforms and systems off shore, but would not comment on timing, headcount numbers or locations for the off-shoring. (The Australian) CBA has put a AU$580m price tag on its revamp.

"There's a very limited pool of expertise for some of these softwares," says Sam Vargas at recruiter Robert Walters. "Interest will be in application development and delivery, especially skilled consultants in SAP and Oracle technologies, or those with expertise implementing banking processes," he adds.

Many positions will be sourced overseas, while others will be transferred internally. Kellie Stirling, head of recruitment and careers strategy at ANZ, says banks already transfer people with problem-solving competencies and communication skills into IT roles.

Duncan Amos at recruiter Bluefin Resources says the jobs most in demand will be business analysts and project managers. There will also be positions for technical/solutions architects, application developers, EAI specialists, data converters, testers and change managers.

Nicole Gorton at recruitment firm Robert Half says a business analyst earns AU$80k-$120k, with variable bonuses. Data converters earn about AU$50k-70k and systems accountants AU$80k-120k.

Spencer Stirrat at recruiter Hudson says hiring activity hasn't really started yet because banks are still talking to IT consultancies and considering the extent of the upgrades, but the word is out. "People with integration-based skills, developers, business analysts, transition and project managers will all be in demand," he adds.

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