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Are you sure your job will still be in London or New York in 2020?

How you'll know your banking technology job is ripe for being offshored

Is your banking job in danger of being moved to a 'low cost location'? Maybe. Since the early years of the 21st century, investment banks have been moving technology roles to offshore locations either by creating their own 'Centres of Excellence (COE)' or using vendors in those places.

I know, because I've been involved with offshoring in banking for 20 years. Singapore was one of the first COE locations I helped deploy to in 2006, but as banks competed with each other over talent, employee compensation there shot through the roof. The building owners caught wind of this and thought “we’ll have some of that” and upped the rent. After that, Singapore quickly went from low cost to high cost and the banks started building teams in India and Poland.

It's not just Singapore. Plenty of places that begin life as low cost experience rising costs as more and more banks move in. My prediction is therefore that costs will rise India and Poland too and that banks will move on again.

In my career I've had the privilege of working with some very talented people in offshore locations, but I've also had to inform a lot of people that their jobs were moving overseas. From this experience, I think there are five leading indicators that your technology job will soon be moving somewhere cheaper.

1. You don't stand out from the ginormous crowd

There are about 18.2 million software developers worldwide, a number that is due to rise to 26.4 million by 2019. By the end of 2018, India is predicted to have more developers than the U.S. increasing its developer population from 2.75 million to 5.2 million, an increase of nearly 90%.

If you play the numbers game, then it does not good. But you can increase your odds by building skills in emerging and demanded for technologies. Think: cloud, AI, big data and data science, cybersecurity, blockChain and crypto-currencies. If this isn't you, do you need to up-skill and move to a fintech firm?

2. You're always behind a screen

If you don’t meet your clients (either internally or externally) face-to-face regularly, then to be frank, what’s the point of you being seated in a high cost location with them? Create tighter relationships with your clients, see them regularly in person. Make yourself indispensable to them. When your boss comes hunting, they will have your back.

3. You're not a highly functioning and specialist of the team

Does your business knowledge have a high value of return for the bank at the moment? Do you have specialist knowledge in regulatory change? Does the area you work for provide technology for a critical business function that requires detailed knowledge i.e. risk & compliance?

If the answers are no and you work in an area that's the same across all banks then you may be at risk of being offshored or your functional area being outsourced to a vendor.

4. Most of your team are elsewhere

If you're a senior leader and most of your team are now offshored then you may want to assess your situation. What is your span of control? Does it justify you yourself being in a high cost location? Maybe not.

5. Your boss looks shifty

Ask your boss if there is a risk of your role being offshored. In my experience calling someone out and watching their tone, language and body language should be able to tell you what’s planned. I know If someone had asked me outright, I would have looked very uncomfortable. I suspect most people are similar.

Nick has 20 years of experience in banking technology and works now as a career and leadership coach specialising in banking and finance technology -

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AUTHORNicholas Foster Insider Comment

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