BMO Financial Group (BMO) is committing to focus on recruiting and onboarding tech professionals from diverse backgrounds to close its tech talent gap, and to meeting the needs of a diverse population in a new work era.
It is not alone. According to Gartner research, the demand for tech talent has increased rapidly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and high attrition rates combined with the need for tech workers to support digital transformation initiatives have resulted in a competitive market.
“We’re really looking at many different strategies to increase our tech talent,” said Rebecca Tascona, head of business to customer platforms strategy and operations, North American Personal, Business Banking and Wealth Management. “We have an ambitious five year strategy and digital is absolutely at the centre of it.”
Tascona noted that BMO is creating tech hubs around North America in places like Dallas, Texas, Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida as well as in Montreal and Calgary. The company plans to hire at least 250 people in these expansion areas over 2022 and into 2023.
She also added that BMO has open roles across a variety of tech and operations fields.
“Whether you’re a cloud engineer, software developer, data analytics, cyber, DevOps infrastructure solution architects, we have so many different opportunities for someone to join BMO and grow their career.”
The company is also introducing initiatives to encourage more women into the tech world. Its Woman in Technology and Operations Employee Group encourages growth opportunities for women and offers education sessions for team members to hear from inspiring women in tech.
“So it’s all about making sure that, whether it’s through mentorship, or education, or continuous training, our women in technology are getting access and support to continue to build their careers and ask questions for their own development,” Tascona said.
BMO has also recently signed a “Founding Partner” sponsorship of the Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN), North America’s largest organization dedicated to supporting Black tech and business professionals, to connect with Black tech professionals. Its aim is to accelerate pathways to tech careers and increase opportunities for Black professionals in financial services
“It allows Black professionals in tech to hear from other Black leaders in tech. And also build on their career development. It’s an amazing way to connect and welcome new talent to our organization,” she said.
Tascona said that through the partnership, BMO senior executives will participate in BPTN’s Masterclass events, which offer members insights on important topics within the tech industry. She said the company will be conducting several sessions a year.
“We just did one and it was really exciting and energizing and so we had some of our own leaders at BMO…share what they’ve learned about their career along the way, and pass on their knowledge.”
Lastly, Tascona spoke about how BMO is retaining and upskilling its employees to meet the new needs of the post-pandemic work world.
BMO offers a program that focuses on Amazon Web Services cloud certifications for its team members to keep their skills current in the changing tech environment.
Additionally, she said the company is also partnering with Pluralsight, an education company for tech professionals.
“It basically assesses our talent, their technical skills, and then matches them with personalized development plans and learning,” she said.