American Express recruiting thousands of tech professionals

Amex will add 5,000 IT professionals to its workforce in 2022 as digital products and services become the staple of the finance sector

American Express (Amex) is on an IT recruitment drive to support business growth amid the rapid digitisation of the financial services sector.

This year will see more than 5,000 tech roles added to Amex’s global workforce of 64,000.

To support its business growth, the credit card giant is currently looking to fill 1,500 technical roles by the end of the year – on top of the 3,600 tech recruits already made this year.

“These [roles] are product and engineering roles, and they include titles such as software engineer, data scientist, product manager, information security specialist and mobile engineer,” said a company spokesperson.

Amex said about 60% of the jobs are based in the US, about one-third in India, with the remainder in Europe, primarily the UK.

The addition of more than 5,000 tech roles at the financial services organisation is being driven by the rapid adoption of fintech and the increasing number of digital-first challengers.

Large traditional financial services forms, including the big banks and card companies, already have huge IT teams, but the changing competitive landscape means they need more.

One IT professional in the UK finance sector said 5,000 extra IT staff in a year, representing about an 8% increase of Amex’s total global staff, was a “big move”.

“I wonder what is driving this and whether there will be jobs cut in other areas of the business. Amex might need fewer people in certain roles if it increases automation,” they said.

“The recruitment of IT staff supports the transformation of customer digital journeys, which finance firms talk about today. They are pushing customers online, which means they need more IT skills and less staff in more traditional roles.”

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This is leading to high demand for people with the right tech skills across the global finance sector. In an interview with Bloomberg, Amex CIO Ravi Radhakrishnan said there was a war on talent and described the tech recruitment environment as challenging.

Businesses are having to offer more than just high salaries to get the best IT staff. Radhakrishnan told Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of talent that wants to understand how we approach flexibility,” he said. “It’s not just the flexibility that we offer – the option to be virtual, in-person or hybrid – it’s combining it with purpose. We do that. We ask people to work with their leaders to determine the purpose for coming in.” 

Last year, Amex formalised hybrid working following the success of informal policies introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Amex Flex, as it is known, was announced in October 2021 by CEO Stephen Squeri, in a note to the company’s 64,000 staff.

The model has three basic work designations – hybrid, on-site and fully virtual. The hybrid option sees staff in the office a couple of days a week, those taking the on-site option spend four to five days in the office, while virtual workers visit the office only a couple of times a year.

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