Capitec is on a major recruitment drive to hire South Africans in the data and technology field before they are poached by overseas companies.
Speaking at a media round table in Stellenbosch, Wim de Bruyn, the chief information officer for Capitec, said that the bank has been on an active hiring drive over the past year to hire roughly 500 data people and technologists.
He said that due to the growing number of products the bank is developing in terms of its retail, insurance and business sector banking, its need for a larger tech and data skill base has increased.
Graham Lee, the group executive for the retail banking sector at Capitec, noted, however, that there is massive competition in acquiring these skills.
Lee said that Capitec is not an exceptional case of the skills being difficult to acquire. He said that skills in tech and data fields are in high demand not only domestically but also abroad – and this trend is accelerating.
Lee said that international companies are coming to South Africa to find talent such as data scientists to go work overseas in their companies or to hire them in South Africa to work remotely.
Earlier this year, Eric van der Merwe, the chief financial officer at IT company 4Sight Holdings, warned that a growing number of global companies are targeting the South African workforce to tap into the talent pool’s skills base and renowned work ethic.
Robin Fisher, emerging markets senior area vice president at Salesforce, also said that companies within the county’s tech sector were finding it hardest to fill vacancies in positions.
Capitec noted that it has even seen a few of its staff move to companies that operate aboard.
Andrew Baker, the chief technology officer at Capitec, said that there are two parts to retaining talent: keeping hold of the assets you have as a company, and bringing in new intellectual property.
To tackle the skills shortage in the country, Capitec has taken it upon itself to upskill workers already in the company in fields such as technology and data science.
Baker said that the bank had concluded a deal with A Cloud Guru, an online training platform for people interested in IT, to assist their staff in keeping up to date with the goings on in the tech field and have a certain level of data literacy.
Baker noted that the bank is encouraging its employees to complete an online technology course called the Certified Cloud Practitioner.
According to A Cloud Guru, this course is a starting point for non-technical people looking to understand Cloud Computing and contribute to their organisation’s cloud initiatives.
Capitec is further interested in UDemy, a global online training platform that can be used to pipeline people in the company upward and make learning about cloud, cyber or compliance accessible.
In an industry that is further digitising, like the banking sector, having a level of digital literacy within the company across the board can, according to Baker, make employees more efficient – in that everyone ‘speaks the same language.’