CIBC fights tech talent wars by upskilling its current workers

The news: Amid fierce competition for talent, CIBC’s strategy includes offering upskilling programs to its current tech employees, per Bloomberg.

  • It’s focusing on professional development for Microsoft Azure and blockchain technology.
  • It’s also making a skills push while also aiming to hire for 700 to 900 tech roles this year.

The training, in detail: The Canada-based bank has already provided Azure training for around two-thirds of its developers, or 2,000 people, Bloomberg added.

  • Approximately 350 among this cohort have taken full Azure certification exams.
  • The exam cost is as high as CAD$5,000 ($3,988.03), CIO Richard Jardim told Bloomberg in an interview.
  • CIBC has partnered with ConsenSys to offer blockchain training to 450 workers. The company also held a Hackathon so that participants could try out their newly acquired skills.
  • A quantum computing training program is slated to start next year, per Jardim.

Context: CIBC is grappling with a shortage in tech talent amid heightened competition between firms for workers, Bloomberg noted.

  • Jardim said that CIBC’s salaries for tech workers have been rising from 10% to 40%.
  • In some rare instances, workers have aimed to double their earnings.
  • The skills in highest demand cover artificial intelligence (AI), process engineering, automation, and cloud engineering.
  • The bank is experiencing increasing turnover, the CIO noted.
  • CIBC competes with more types of companies for talent, Jarim told Bloomberg: “We used to compete against the banks and maybe some big tech—now it’s like we’re competing with everyone.”

The big takeaway: In the talent wars, steps like CIBC’s are essential for banks seeking to retain and hire staff.

  • Banks should also stress that financial services firms can be viewed as purpose-driven, and repeatedly highlight professional development initiatives like recent training programs. This will appeal more to candidates seeking meaningful work and career development opportunities.
  • Banks should also emphasize how new tech hires can work on interesting and innovative projects, and publicly celebrate their achievements. It could, for example, publicly list employees who contribute to patents granted, or promote upcoming projects, as CIBC’s home-market rival TD Bank has been doing.