ANZ mulls 'vendor sabbaticals' for IT staff

IT workers at ANZ Bank may get the chance to go on sabbaticals with vendors as the bank investigates ways to hold on to talented employees. "One of the things we're experimenting with at the moment ...

IT workers at ANZ Bank may get the chance to go on sabbaticals with vendors as the bank investigates ways to hold on to talented employees.

"One of the things we're experimenting with at the moment ... [is that] we want to work with some of the key vendors, such as IBM and Microsoft, and we want to set up sabbaticals where we can have our people there for six months every couple of years," ANZ's new chief information officer Peter Dalton told a finance technology conference in Sydney today.

The executive noted the idea had not yet come to fruition, but he certainly raised some interesting possibilities for ANZ's IT workers.

"Some people sit in an office working for a bank their whole life and dream about working for Google," he told the audience. "If that's what you want to do, we'll go and help you work for Google."

Dalton said ANZ was focused on helping its IT employees develop their skills. Competition for skilled IT workers has increased in recent times as the industry faces a shortage of qualified professionals.

IT workers wanted opportunities, according to Dalton. The vendor sabbatical initiative could help to satisfy that demand.

The CIO was confident the idea would be well-received by his staff.

"If I talk to the IT people in ANZ -- there's about 3,000 of them -- and say, 'look we've got two spots in Google for a six month sabbatical right, anybody want to go', I'll get bowled over in the rush."

"Not necessarily because Google is about banking, yet," Dalton joked. "But because working with them will develop our people."