India a solution for CBA’s growing skills shortages

  • By Zilla Efrat

CBA has thousands of open positions in Australia but just can’t fill them. So, it has turned to India to ease the situation, CBA chair Catherine Livingston said yesterday at yesterday’s online AGM.

This followed questions from shareholders about why CBA had a program of sending potentially thousands of jobs to India, after promising to keep and create jobs in Australia

Livingston explained that CBA had a subsidiary in India, called CBA India, and its staff are direct employees of CBA.

“The reason for establishing CBA India was to increase capacity, particularly to get skills and capability which we cannot get in Australia,” she said.

“There’s been much discussion in Australia about the shortage of skills and the very tight market for those skills. And, the operation we have in India adds to what we have in Australia.”

She said CBA had recruited 3,000 people in the past few months, but still, it had several thousand open positions. “We are definitely looking to recruit in Australia but we can’t get all the skills we need so we are adding those skills in India.”

“We are very actively recruiting in Australia, including engineers. Some of the engineers we have are in Australia and some of the engineers are in India.

“As a business evolves and roles change, some roles are no longer needed. But in those instances, we have a very active redeployment program and our latest results show we have a 41 per cent success rate in redeploying people whose roles are no longer needed in the business.”

Livingston said CBA had another program called Reskilling.

“This is what Australia needs to do more broadly – reskill people and improve their digital literacy so that they can take on the roles that are now being increasingly required by businesses. In the Reskilling program, we have had an over 50 per cent success rate in people moving into new roles and the roles of the future.

“All of our customer-facing centres are based in Australia. For the bank to compete as it needs to do in a digital environment, we need digital skills, and we just can’t get all that we need in Australia.”

CBA’s need for digital skills is no surprise.

Livingston told the AGM that CBA customers are choosing to engage with the bank much more via digital channels, rather than in person.

“I think 70 per cent of our transactions by value are on a digital platform,” she said.

Matt Comyn, the CEO and managing director of the CBA, listed some digital innovations CBA has been involved in.

“We’ve helped connect Australians with $481 million in unclaimed benefits and rebates through our app feature Benefits finder,” he said.

“We’re putting cheaper, cleaner energy within reach for more customers through the CommBank Green Loan, allowing eligible home loan customers to buy and install eligible clean energy products such as solar panels, battery packs and solar hot water systems.”

Comyn added CBA was the first major Australian bank to launch a buy now pay later product, StepPay.

It was also helping customers access discounts and save money on everyday bills like broadband, energy and shopping through innovative partnerships with Australian businesses like More Telecom, Amber and Little Birdie.

Plus, more than 6.4 million CommBank app users benefit from the value delivered via the bank’s customer engagement engine which uses insights from customer activity to drive highly relevant and personalised banking features.

“The investment we are making [in digital] is partly to ensure that our customers get the level of experience they get from other sectors. We need to match and exceed that experience. But this is also enabling us to develop new products,” said Livingston.