CBA better to work for than Google: Harte

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is a more attractive place to work for than the world's biggest search giant, Google, according to chief information officer Michael Harte.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is a more attractive place to work for than the world's biggest search giant, Google, according to chief information officer Michael Harte.

Michael Harte

Michael Harte(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Speaking at the unveiling of the bank's lavish new offices yesterday, Harte said that hiring young people into IT is a challenge, because of the skills shortage.

"We found it difficult, particularly in IT, to attract a young, vibrant workforce directly out of university. They don't necessarily associate a bank with a vibrant IT career," he said.

Harte added, however, that these shiny new offices and bring-your-own device model for the workplace, as well as exciting projects like the $1.1 billion core overhaul and the bank's near-field communication (NFC) foray, makes CBA an employment force to be reckoned with.

"Once they see that we're doing some of the largest projects, that we enable them to have mobility [and] a new style of working ... they're immediately attracted.

"They don't immediately assume that their best IT opportunity is at Google, because they've seen how the Google people work, and then they come and have a look at this ... [and find] that they can work in beautiful facilities with up-to-date technologies," the CIO said.

A tour of the new Commonwealth Bank offices showed that the employees have wine fridges, pool and foosball tables, 11-inch MacBook Airs for all staff and headset-based soft phones for VOIP.

Such a statement is sure to put Google Australia's engineering director Alan Noble on edge, after he told ZDNet Australia earlier in the year that he is "bullish" about hiring new graduates into the business, adding that they're the lifeblood of the company.

"If you get the right graduates, they end up being remarkable employees. They tend to be energetic, open to new ideas and processes and, if you get the right type of person, they really want to make a difference and make their mark," Noble told ZDNet Australia.

And the graduates appear to enjoy working for the company.

Daniel Nadasi, a graduate of the Google Australia intern program, told ZDNet Australia earlier this year said that he loved the perks of working for Google, which included access to Xboxes and PS3s, free lunch at the in-house cafeteria, as well as having the MacBook Pro as a work laptop and a Google Nexus S as a company phone. Yet, it was the work that retained him.

"Not only are you working on some of the most interesting and motivating products, you're also working with some of the best people in the world," Nadasi says.

Both Google and the Commonwealth Bank recently appeared on a survey of Australia's dream workplaces. Predictably, however, Google took out the top spot, while the Commonwealth Bank sat in 17th place.

Another day, another core milestone

Harte also revealed yesterday that the bank had spent the last weekend migrating hundreds of thousands of its commercial deposit customers to its new, real-time core banking system.

Harte said that so far, 583,000 commercial deposit customers had been transferred to the new SAP-powered system, two-thirds of the way through the complete commercial deposit migration.

Is the Commonwealth Bank an employment force to be reckoned with? Is it likely to rival Google for staff satisfaction? Who would you rather work for: Google or the Commonwealth Bank? Let us know in the comments.