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How financial services firms can better develop new technology talent

An informal survey of developers identified ways for financial services institutions to better engage and develop new IT hires. 

In brief

  • Financial services institutions need to adjust their IT organizations and hiring practices to help attract and retain developers and engineers.
  • Improving the onboarding process will help financial services IT organizations energize new hires to focus on achieving organizations’ goals and objectives.
  • To better engage new IT workers, IT financial services organizations need to encourage more interaction with business professionals.

How financial firms can mitigate high resignation rates among developers and engineers


In the past few years, we have seen major changes in the dynamic between employers and employees, especially regarding technology-based workers. During the pandemic, we witnessed the Great Resignation, where employees changed jobs in droves. More recently, due to the economic turbulence affecting their industry, Big Tech conducted large-scale employee layoffs that impacted even their most technical workers.


This shift could provide a unique opportunity for financial services institutions (FSIs), which have struggled in recent years to attract and retain the technical workers they need to execute their initiatives and programs. Economic and job uncertainty also poses concern and anxiety to FSI employees, and current employees have begun to worry about their own job at these institutions. As a result, this is a crucial time for FSI IT organizations to engage with their current IT employees and provide meaningful experiences that will help them remain focused and energized to achieving the organization’s goals and objectives.


To gain a better understanding on which levers IT organizations at FSIs can adjust to better attract, hire, engage, develop and retain IT talent, Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) conducted an in-depth survey with EY developers and engineers working in IT roles for a number of FSIs. This informal survey focused on four categories: attraction/recruitment, hiring/onboarding, alignment/equipment/engagement, and development/retention.


The survey also included a supplemental category focused on tracking success, particularly which productivity and experience metrics leadership should track against to evaluate their success. The developers we surveyed offered several recommendations, which included having leadership provide tools to make the software development lifecycle more user-friendly and efficient. They also suggested providing more virtual team engagement activities to encourage interaction with the business since most IT professionals want to continue working remotely. The key findings illustrate the urgent need for the financial services industry to adjust its IT organizations to attract, engage and develop talent.

Employee experience


Record numbers of employees have left their current jobs while others are in the market seeking better employment options. Employers are at a further disadvantage since the demand for software developer employment is projected to grow 22% by 2030, which is more than four times the average rate of growth for all occupations (5%). To mitigate this, it is now more important than ever to revamp plans for attracting top technology talent. Companies will need to streamline the hiring process to avoid losing candidates to other companies or industries that are more efficient in their talent recruitment.

The developers we interviewed reported they would be the least likely to select employment opportunities based on location and base pay salary. As remote work becomes more ubiquitous and employees consequently have more control over their expenses, financial institutions must appeal to candidates in more innovative ways to attract and hire needed talent. Company reputation, career advancement potential, and learning and development opportunities now rank as the most crucial factors in choosing a firm. Financial institutions should prioritize these elements as well when creating an attractive workplace and targeting candidates.

Key takeaway: Companies with more streamlined and flexible hiring processes will see greater success in the hiring market due to quick turnarounds in targeted recruitment.


Many organizations tend to neglect onboarding. Developers typically work with 13 people daily, on average, and this small circle relies on new hires to be productive as soon as possible. Any negative experiences in the onboarding process that may delay developers getting started could impact how the employee regards their own productivity and inhibit the new hire’s ability to ramp up quickly and contribute to the team.

In addition, over 25% of contacted developers wait more than a month to be fully onboarded (i.e., full toolkit available to begin being productive) after their initial start date. This time is often spent dealing with the frustrations of getting set up on secure systems, which means that little to no work can be completed in this timeframe. More than half had to call the help desk to gain access to virtual desktop infrastructure, laptops or other peripherals during the onboarding process, while other industries have automated this process with the full suite of necessary tooling available as soon as they have access to their machines.

The developers also said the organizations should improve their documented code and help to streamline the onboarding process by eliminating the tedious work required to understand the functionality of the software. By making documentation a priority, companies will ensure that new employee onboarding and third-party services operate efficiently.

Key takeaway: To increase productivity for new developers, employee onboarding should be almost instantaneous or automated. Organizations also need to prioritize keeping their code base well maintained and documented.


Developers rank satisfaction with their toolkits (requirement repository, operating systems, development tools and environments, workstations, and testing) as a key part of their experience. Any significant shortcomings can weaken developer engagement. Yet, despite its importance, approximately one in five developers said they are not satisfied with the toolset offered by their organization and reported issues such as workstation performance, no DevOps resources and operating system difficulties. Given this knowledge of trends and the tools to adapt to them, companies need to address these issues through app rationalizations, infrastructure and vendor management to retain top talent.

Frequent peer code reviews may help with alignment and engagement and serve as a staple of the development experience and lead to more digestible and manageable code. Over a third of the developers surveyed reported that they conducted peer code reviews monthly or even less frequently, which is not often enough to effectively maintain an optimal development process. Standardizing this process, along with conducting more frequent peer code reviews, will significantly aid in the developer experience.

The developers also recommended improving virtual team engagement activities and providing more opportunities for interaction with business. While developers often work overtime, they still value spending time performing activities to engage with their coworkers and the business stakeholders who benefit from their work. Financial service companies should take steps to help developers gain a sense of camaraderie and purpose within their role in helping the company fulfill its strategy to make their work more meaningful.

Key takeaway: An adequate toolset to complete work and provide more opportunities to virtually engage with teams and the business can significantly enhance the developer’s experience.


With employee retention continuing to be a growing concern, leading companies are searching for methods to retain and develop their employees. These organizations know how crucial it is to provide their most valued employees with options for career growth. Many developers we interviewed said clear career pathways and recognition for work are top priorities for growth opportunities.

Having a clear career/development path with defined and transparent skill sets is of paramount importance as developers and employees will want the ability to be flexible in their career trajectory. It is also equally important to provide recognition for workers who go beyond their traditional work duties and who become more valuable by learning key skill sets.

When considering development and retention, it is also important that these organizations consider the day-to-day interactions of developers. On individual projects, they most valued (1) interaction with customer-facing teams, (2) building innovative solutions and (3) resolving business challenges. It is important that leading companies consider these factors when allocating projects to their developers. If the company can support a culture that provides sufficient business collaboration toward innovative solutions, these valued employees will be more likely to stay and develop their skills for the company and their department.

Key takeaway: Company culture that provides opportunities for career development and promotions and the ability to collaborate with the business to provide innovative solutions will help retain developers.

Tracking success (productivity and experience)

To remain competitive with big tech and startup companies, financial services companies need to take a more analytical approach. The developers we surveyed were adamant that organizations must provide a clear software development path by improving the automation in  SDLC processes. They also suggested that an employer that did not adopt innovative technologies and relied on legacy technologies would significantly limit the opportunity for optimized development processes and innovation, thus failing to engage employees.

If these key issues are addressed, leadership should be able to track improvements in productivity by analyzing key metrics within their organization. For example, developer efficiency should go up with the number of developer hours being reduced to achieve similar outputs as before. To that end, we were surprised to discover that 56% of the developers said they worked overtime either frequently (60%-90% of workdays) or all the time (>90% of workdays). Employers have become more cognizant of how important it is to maintain a better work/life balance, as research shows that development overtime may lead to inaccurate code and poor development products. While development can be time-critical, it is just as crucial to maintain more standardized working hours to avoid multiple bugs and poor software quality due to overworked developers suffering from burnout.

Key takeaway: Minimal overhead for developers (e.g., extraneous meetings, nonproductive trainings, manual tasks, control documentation outside of developer-build pipeline) is needed for developers and will lead to more efficient product builds.


As the demand for developers and engineers continues to increase, it is important for employers to adjust their IT organization to help attract and retain developers and engineers. To help attract talent, companies can adjust their hiring processes to provide a quick turnaround in the recruitment process. To help retain talent, companies can focus on providing a quicker onboarding process, providing adequate tools for talent to be successful in their roles, promote a company culture prioritizing career development, and offer cutting-edge technologies to optimize development process and innovation.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers EY Developer Experience Survey.

Contributors to this article include Novaro A. Thompson, Tom Thornton, Ashish Reddy, Brandy Rizika and Anthony Cutone.


IT talent continues to be in high demand across all industries. To help attract and retain developers and other IT professionals, financial services organizations need to adjust their hiring practices and onboarding tactics to improve integration with the business.

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