Poland and India are fast-becoming the places to be if you want to work in Credit Suisse’s IT team. In a bid to shave off another CHF2bn in costs, the bank is shifting more tech jobs to these locations and employing a shared services model to IT support. All is not lost if you want to work in London or New York, however.
Credit Suisse is behind the curve when it comes to nearshoring and offshoring, but now appears to be accelerating the gravitation of roles away from Switzerland, London, New York and Singapore and towards Poland and India. In a presentation to journalists yesterday, the bank’s finance chief David Mathers said that more IT jobs would be shifted to lower cost destinations as part of the cost-cutting drive.
The number of tech jobs in Wraclow, Pune and Mumbai has increased at Credit Suisse in recent weeks, while it’s also hiring more techies in Raleigh, North Carolina in the US. The jobs in Poland are being created primarily at the expense of those in Switzerland – the bank is recruiting for German-speakers to work in Wroclaw across programming and IT performance management. English would simply be “an advantage”, it says.
While Credit Suisse’s IT cost-cutting is worrying for those technologists in London and New York, there are still reasons for optimism. For a start, the bank has actually increased its tech spend so far this year, to CHF1,084m from CHF1,039m in the first nine months of 2011. It’s also still recruiting in these locations, even if the nature of the roles is becoming more specialist.
“When it comes to projects that can add real intellectual property to the organisation, most banks are keen to keep the jobs closer to the financial centres in which they’ll be used,” says Paul Bennie, director of IT in finance headhunters Bennie MacLean. “If a technologist can combine business facing experience, with financial sector domain expertise then they’re still in demand in London and New York.”
This is reflected in the types of roles on offer at Credit Suisse. While generic development, IT support, messaging and web development roles are on offer in Raleigh, Wraclow and Pune, more specialist positions are required in London and New York. Project managers, business analysts, programme managers and senior developers focused on rates, risk and commodities are all being recruited.
“Banks are typically reluctant to offshore front office development work, even to a captive centre, because – for various reasons – lines of communication inevitably break down to the extent that code needs to be reworked,” says Martyn Hart, chairman of the National Outsourcing Association. “The typical salary savings in Eastern Europe are 40%, but this is reducing, which helps explain why more banks look to lower cost destinations closer to home like Scotland, Ireland or Raleigh.”
Another issue for banks is the need to keep up with the Jones’ when it comes to cutting edge IT. Move too many functions away from major financial centres and the high-performing tech talent that so many banks covet feels less inclined to stick around. Innovating, and being perceived as innovative, is imperative.
“We’re continually investing in smarter ways of doing things – whether that’s improving the latency of a trading system or improving our FX e-Commerce platforms – or we can fall behind the competition,” Phil Kent a managing director in Credit Suisse’s information technology division told us previously.