Paul Bari, Westpac consumer and business banking chief information officer.
Westpac is setting up a software engineering hub on the Gold Coast as an experiment to attract workers that live outside of the major east coast capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.
The bank intends to experiment with similar hubs elsewhere in Australia after viewing a talent mapping analysis that showed the distribution of engineering skills across Australia.
Consumer and business banking chief information officer Paul Bari told Westpac Wire that he is now advertising for the first 20 engineers for the Gold Coast hub.
“If it works, we’ll expand the number of roles and, over time, look to replicate it in the next biggest centres – places like Adelaide and Perth, and potentially across the Tasman,” Bari said.
“The idea is to build a new kind of model where we focus on a combination of lifestyle as well as work, a 360-value proposition if you like.”
The Gold Coast hub will operate under a hybrid working model incorporating days in the office and at home.
Bari said the Gold Coast hub will work on some “cooler parts” of Westpac’s ongoing projects including developing its mobile banking app functionality and open banking.
More broadly, he said that competition for workers in the major capitals, plus the health pandemic which accelerated many digital-first projects, had fast-tracked the need to “immediately secure talent”.
Another trend he noted is the migration of workers to regional communities.
“Covid’s given us a unique opportunity to revisit a lot of paradigms that were, for whatever reason, assumed to be the norm – and one of those things, ever since I was in uni, was if you wanted a big job, you had to go to Sydney or Melbourne,” Bari said.
“Now, we are bleeding capability into the regions, so there’s this significant talent pool in our regions that are not being fully utilised because the jobs are not there.”