As competition for tech talent continues to get tougher, TD Bank Group is upping its recruitment efforts.
On Tuesday, the Toronto-based bank is opening a new tech hub in Fort Lauderdale for which it hopes to hire 200 local people with technology skills. This is part of an overall goal of hiring more than 2,000 tech workers this year.
“We love being in a location where our customers are and obviously Florida is well within our footprint,” said Greg Keeley, senior executive vice president, platforms and technology at TD. The bank has 155 branches and 4,462 employees in the state.
“Even more important is we want to tap into the talent that’s here,” Keeley said. “A lot of people are moving into the area and it’s a young, vibrant and technology-savvy place.” He sees an increase in people with in-demand software engineering skills moving to South Florida, including mobile development, agile and cloud.
The bank has also cemented a relationship with the Levan Center, a public-private partnership between Nova Southeastern University and Broward County that supports startup founders with incubator and accelerator programs, co-working and meeting space, and education. The bank hopes this relationship will help TD build its presence in the South Florida tech community.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to tap into the university culture and engage with the community here,” Keeley said. “We get to tap into the innovation and community that’s here and equally we get to bring who we are at TD to that marketplace.”
Banks all over the country are finding it challenging to hire enough talented developers, engineers and programmers.
“The only time period I can recall where competition for talent within technology was this hot was during the first internet boom of 1997 to 2001,” said Robert Voth, managing director at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. “The same market factors were in place: high demand across all banks, no matter their size, and a very limited pool of qualified candidates.”
This time around, there are a few new factors, Voth noted: financial companies’ dedication to diversity, the rise of competing fintechs and a workforce that is not being asked to relocate for top-notch opportunities.
“You take an already thin talent market and layer these three factors over those challenges and you have a generational war for talent,” Voth said. “Add to this offers and counter-offers that create immense compensation compression amongst existing, long-serving teams and you can see why banks must be creative to engage top talent.”
TD is looking for people with skills in the areas of software engineering, cloud computing (specifically Microsoft Azure), cybersecurity and software architecture. It’s also looking for agile coaches and people who can do mobile app design, Keeley said.
The bank is creating a new work area for these employees-to-be in an existing TD office. It is not offering any special compensation or benefits packages, but it will offer hybrid work, so these recruits won’t have to come to the office every day.
Voth sees such flexibility, which he calls “balanced office time,” as a competitive advantage for recruiters of financial tech experts. Another is opportunities for promotions.
“Being able to chart a path for advancement is a key element for success,” he said.