You don’t need to be a tech professional to know that demand for tech skills is booming.
As businesses across the board furiously innovate on the digital front, competition for talent is fierce.
In such a tough environment, the pressure is on organisations to show why they are an attractive place to work, and Westpac’s TechX event, now in its seventh year, is a crucial part of the bank’s efforts to keep employees engaged and excited about technology.
“TechX is an idea to bring everyone together in the tech community, but also those people who are non-tech and want to learn more,” says David Walker, Westpac’s chief technology officer.
“It gives them an idea about what we’re doing in the bank, but also what’s out there: the external perspective, and getting a good view of what’s coming.”
TechX features sessions from in-house experts as well as industry thought leaders on topics ranging from the cloud and artificial intelligence, to scam and fraud prevention, coding and engineering.
Activities at the event site at Westpac’s office in Kogarah in Sydney include a McLaren Formula 1 simulator, Amazon's AI-powered autonomous racing car, and an opportunity to explore the metaverse with Microsoft.
“TechX is a great opportunity to go around and see everything that’s happening in group tech at Westpac,” says Estella Arabi, a technology graduate, who has set her sights on a role as a user interface engineer with the bank.
“The great thing about working at a big company like Westpac is that if at any point I want to try something else, or move to a different area, then that’s totally possible,” she adds.
The most recent estimates from the Tech Council of Australia point to the need for an additional 650,000 tech workers by 2030. Globally, Korn Ferry has estimated the shortage of tech workers will represent $8.5 trillion in lost annual revenue in the decade to 2030.
In a highly competitive market, young, highly sought, tech professionals are not afraid to jump from employer to employer, and high staff turnover can result in delays to a company’s digital plans.
For organisations to keep their best and brightest they need to work harder to keep them engaged and invested.
“The skills shortage is going to be a problem for many years to come,” says Walker. “We’re doing two things to address that. The first is lifting the people we’ve got – making them experts, giving them opportunities. TechX is one example of that.
“The other thing is we’re looking externally. We want to give people a great value proposition to come and join Westpac.”