Degroof Petercam's response to the IT skills shortage

Published on 21/12/2023 in Customer talks

Businesses are struggling to bridge the IT skills gap: there is a huge shortage of IT profiles on the labor market. Bank Degroof Petercam is therefore using consultants to deliver some of the required expertise.

Degroof Petercam's response to the IT skills shortage

According to a Beltug survey, in 44% of companies (large and medium-sized with more than 250 employees) the IT skills gap is having an impact on their IT projects. How would you estimate this trend in your organization?

“We are not an IT company ourselves, but we definitely recognize that trend,” says Steven Claes, manager of Bank Degroof Petercam’s IT Service Center. “We are also experiencing this challenge of finding people, especially in the area of cloud and security. IT vacancies are left unfilled for an average of three to six months. An additional difficulty is that proximity is important in our industry. As a bank, we want to be close to our customers. Outsourcing projects to experts from distant countries is not a solution for us.”

Partner relationship with depth

Bank Degroof Petercam therefore engages partners who offer the required expertise, such as Proximus NXT and Proximus subsidiary Telindus Luxembourg. “We think it’s important to deepen our relationship with those partners. At the same time, we will of course continue to explore the market ourselves and expand our recruitment network. The ratio between internal employees and external consultants is about 50/50, depending on the ongoing projects. When it comes to IT outsourcing within the banking sector, regulation by local regulators also plays an important role.”

The fact that a company like Bank Degroof Petercam chooses to work with partners is due to the growing complexity within the various IT domains. “In the field of security, for example, it’s simply not possible to keep a close eye on all the evolutions and develop the expertise for all those new elements within your own team.” At the same time, a bank cannot afford to compromise in terms of security. “For those things we can’t do ourselves, we rely on the expertise of partners.”

It’s impossible to develop all the necessary IT expertise in-house.

Steven Claes, Manager of the IT Service Center at Bank Degroof Petercam

Horizontal career opportunities

According to the ‘Skills gap analysis’ survey, 79% of respondents think it is cheaper to ‘reskill’ current employees than hire new ones. And yet, the most popular measure for closing the skills gap is hiring. How do you explain that?

“A lot depends on the corporate culture,” says Steven. “People still focus too often on a vertical career. At the bank, we’re now committing big time to internal job mobility.” This means that employees can also move horizontally in their career, between different content domains. “It may seem easier to find someone externally for a specific job, whereas the solution is often already in-house.”

There are also many advantages to this internal recruitment. “The employee already knows the organization and culture of the business." Steven is convinced that internal mobility offers the better solution in the long run. “But, of course, the organization does have to be ready for it. Employees need to know what is possible. We facilitate this with an internal job market, among other things. And we organize internal training, for example on cloud and security, and also for employees without a typical IT background.”

People still focus too often on a vertical career, while there are also a lot of horizontal career opportunities.

Steven Claes, Manager of the IT Service Center at Bank Degroof Petercam

Focus on soft skills

For companies that have implemented reskilling programs, average employee satisfaction increases by 60% (source: McKinsey Global Survey). Which reskilling programs do you offer?

“That’s certainly true,” says Steven. "When we survey our employees about their satisfaction, we always find how important education and training are to them. For the past two years, we have been focusing even more intensively on training opportunities for internal IT employees.” These courses address both technical competencies and soft skills. “We recognize the importance of both types of skills, while also paying attention to communication, collaboration, and a flexible way of working.”

Bank Degroof Petercam uses Prosci ADKAR, a model for managing change that pays a lot of attention to the human aspect. “It’s about taking people on a journey, but it’s also about keeping an eye on what they think is important.” This approach is particularly useful for the younger generations of employees – who are more focused than ever on the purpose of their job. “It makes people want to work at the bank. Continuous reskilling will become even more important in the future.”

Degroof Petercam is a Belgian-rooted reference investment house built on more than 150 years of integrated financial knowledge.

Steven Claes, Manager of the IT Service Center at Bank Degroof Petercam.

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