Commonwealth Bank Eyes Hiring 600 IT Engineers In 12 Months


Staff Writer

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is kicking off a big IT recruitment drive. Over the next year, Australia’s biggest bank will hire 600 engineers across various disciplines, including software, systems, data, and test engineers. In addition, the bank plans to single out its best engineers, labelling them Distinguished Engineers. The CBA will harness them as it seeks to become a global leader in technology.

“What CBA is doing really can affect the entire economy because we’re dealing with the small businesses just down the street to Australia’s largest enterprises,” says Brendan Hopper, CBA’s CIO for Technology.

“The idea behind Distinguished Engineers is really to assemble a diverse team of our top-level engineers and some of the best engineering minds on the planet, to really solve the most complex problems both for CBA and for our customers.”

The bank already has a substantial information technology team. But CBA CEO Matt Comyn has recently spoken about creating a customer-focused digital ecosystem that will make customer interactions easier and ultimately deliver the bank significant cost savings. Comyn said the bank is well placed to pursue a differentiated long term technology strategy.

The CBA is midway through transferring 95% of its systems into the digital cloud. Presently, around 350 systems each week are being transferred from the bank’s physical data centres to the cloud. Already, 44% of the bank’s workload is being run from the digital cloud.

Hopper is one of three freshly appointed Distinguished Engineers at the CBA. Also joining the ranks is Martin Granell, until recently General Manager of Data Platforms and Services at rival National Australia Bank, and Andrew Kerr, General Manager of Operations Technology at CBA.

“I get to roll up my sleeves and help solve some really tricky problems at the bank,” says Granell. “One of the big challenges we have right now is how do we get small teams of engineers, to be able to go in a few months from an idea and get it into our customer’s hands – that’s a tough engineering problem.”

Kerr says the CBA’s size means the bank can become an IT leader with national and international impact.

The CBA aims to recruit its 600 engineers from internal and external sources. The Distinguished Engineers will be expected to demonstrate thought leadership, engineering acumen, strategic thinking, and the ability to solve complex problems and drive change. As a result, the CBA aims to deliver a global best-in-class digital experience to its 15.9 million customers.

The bank is competing for engineers amid an IT skills drought. However, the CBA believes it is well-positioned to attract the best engineering minds. Acknowledging the skills shortage and need to establish a tech skills pipeline, Brendan Hopper thinks the CBA can be a preferred employer for engineers across the IT spectrum.

“We’ve got a clear agenda, and we’ve got support from the top. Importantly we also have a critical mass of people who can teach each other.”