Digital banking revolution creates employment gold rush
While many companies have either canceled or cut back on hiring due to coronavirus uncertainties, at least one type of business is struggling with a labor shortage.
Internet-only banks are promising fat paychecks and a shorter-than-ever hiring process to bring in as many IT developers to get ahead in the digital transformation of finance.
K Bank posted a job notice on Sept. 11 seeking data specialists and IT developers by the end of the month. The company plans to recruit by double-digit numbers in 10 areas, including banking development and operations. It needs people to develop systems for deposits, installment savings, foreign exchange, loans and data processing.
"We are looking for talent to innovate K Bank’s ICT sector," said Ok Sung-hwan, head of K Bank's management planning division.
A few days earlier, Toss offered exceptional benefits — a 100-million-won ($85,000) stock options and a salary increase of 150 percent — for IT developers to head Toss Bank, which is to be up and running next year at the earliest.
Kakao Bank posted a job notice on Sept. 4 seeking IT developers to head its data analysis platform and core banking divisions. Kakao Bank promised flexible working hours, one month of guaranteed paid vacation and two million won of vacation allowance.
The three internet banks are hiring experienced developers at the same time to create apps, mobile systems and data systems. Tellers and service workers are not in demand.
This aggressive move is to prepare for the MyData project, a government-led project that allows financial institutions to gather scattered data from retail companies to create customized services. The banks are gearing up for the selection of MyData financial institutions in February and want to have the right people in place in order to be chosen.
They expect the demand to continue for several years.
Internet-only banks are also feeling the need to improve the user experience of their apps as fast as possible, to catch up with commercial banks that already have decades more experience in the business. Competition has especially been heated after the introduction of the open banking system, which allows customers to withdraw, transfer and keep track of their assets at all institutions participating through one app.
According to the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC), the number of open banking subscribers in Korea stood at 40 million as of July, which is 72 percent of the country's economically active population.
Rapid recruitment characterizes the recent push.
Kakao Bank finished both the first and second round of interviews in one day. For other companies, this process takes at least a month to finish. Toss aims to complete the entire process — from application to final hiring — in less than three weeks. K Bank is planning for two weeks.
The developers are seen as the VIPs of the business as they must be hired before someone else gets to them.
Commercial banks have been late to the game as they struggle with the pandemic. Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank posted recruitment notices Monday, with most entry level positions focused on IT development and data analysts.
BY SUNG JI-WON, KANG JAE-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]