Five IT skill-sets that banks still struggle to find

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No one is suggesting that the job market for IT professionals within the banking sector is particularly buoyant currently, but there are certain skill-sets that still manage to provide a headache for HR teams and external recruiters alike.

When our UK site outlined the jobs that financial services firms were struggling to fill, technology roles featured highly on the list, suggesting that niche IT skills provide a recruitment challenge. If you possess the skills below, consider yourself in demand.

1) Scala and Python

The number of banks including either Python or Scala as a necessary skill-set for front office development roles is growing – J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS to name but a few. It’s unlikely to feature in isolation, however, with most firms also demanding knowledge of C++ or Java in addition to Scala or Python. Nonetheless, the proliferation of roles requesting this skill-set is starting to create a shortage of candidates.

“It’s inevitable that when a skill-set is relatively niche or new and more firms start demanding it from candidates that a skills-shortage develops,” says Justin Willis, director at recruiters Bright Purple. “Scala and Python currently fall into that category, and these hard-to-fill roles tend to take six to nine weeks longer to identify and find a candidate.”

2) Order management vendor systems within investment management

Technologists with expertise around specialist financial services vendor technology tend to focus on the more lucrative contract market. Those with knowledge of order management systems such as Charles River and Simcorp Dimension are no exception, but more financial services firms want to tie them into a permanent role.

“More clients want this expertise in-house on a permanent basis, but there’s little interest from candidates in these roles,” says Ben Cowan, director of recruiters Astbury Marsden.

3) Java/Swing front end development

The key here is not just possessing Java/Swing development skills, but being a class above the competition. With banks being more demanding with their recruitment requirements, they’re only hiring the most exceptional developers to work on revamping their graphic user interfaces (GUIs) for the front office.

“Good front-end Swing developers are hard to find,” says James Richmond, sales director of IT in finance recruiters Cititec. “A lot of systems are being revamped to look and feel better, which means there’s a need for good Swing developers to work on these demands.”

4) Change management and business analysis within functional business areas

Change management roles within IT have been in demand for some time now, so it’s perhaps understandable that the less "glamorous" areas of the business are struggling to attract candidates. If you have experience in finance systems or other functional areas like HR, recruiters want to hear from you.

“There’s a big push for change managers or functional and process change business analysts,” says Richmond. “Technical project managements, business analysts and data analysts with strong finance IT experience are in short supply.”

5) Complex event processing technology

Five years ago, the term complex event processing (CEP) would have been understood by a limited number of IT professionals with their finger on the pulse of new technologies. Now, capital markets firms are emerging as the biggest spenders on CEP, and – according to research by Aite Group – will continue to splash the cash over the next two years.

Even now, however, finding skills in this area remains a challenge. “Knowledge of CEP technology such as Sybase Aleri or Progress Apama is still very niche,” says Cowan. “Any financial services firms investing in this area find it difficult to source candidates.”

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