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TechX aims to keep Westpac in the digital fast lane

02:00pm November 25 2022

Westpac employees mingle at the bank's annual TechX event in Kogarah. (Thomas Evans)

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. 


Amazon's Deep Racer is an autonomous mini car which uses artificial intelligence to navigate its way around a course. (Tom Evans)

“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.” 

James Thornhill was appointed as editor of Westpac Wire in May 2022. Prior to joining the bank, he was a business and financial journalist with more than two decades of experience with international newswires. Most recently, he was a resources correspondent for Bloomberg, covering the mining and energy sectors, and previously reported on a broad range of topics from economics and politics to currency and bond markets. Originally from the UK, he’s had stints working in London, New York and Singapore, but is now happily settled in Sydney.

Thomas Evans joined Westpac Wire in 2022 as a Video Producer. With experience across varied media forms, he strives to tell powerful and engaging stories in all the work he produces. Hailing from Sydney, he began his career in Marketing before shifting into multimedia.

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