UOB is accelerating hiring for technology talents as it builds up its offshore technology centre in Malaysia. The bank is looking to expand headcount at its Malaysia-based Innovation Hub 2 from 180 people to over 300 by the end of this year, and to 600 by 2023.
“It is a very aggressive and accelerated growth path that we are going through right now. Our goal is to have between 900 and 1,000 talents at Innovation Hub 2 by 2025,” Philip Tan, Head of Centre at UOB Innovation Hub 2, says.
Technology is central to UOB’s ambition to provide solutions that make banking simpler, safer and smarter for its customers, and UOB Innovation Hub 2 is a key enabler of this. Started in January this year, the Hub provides application delivery capability for the Bank’s banking and enterprise technology solutions.
“Banking is no longer just enabled by technology. Instead, technology is at the heart of banking and financial services,” Tan explains.
UOB is recruiting technology talents in two core areas. It is looking for passionate individuals to develop and deliver applications in established fields such as digital banking, compliance, cards systems, customer management, and financial markets.
The bank is also mustering talents well-versed in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data and robotic process automation.
“We are hiring across the board of both experienced talents and relatively young talent, either direct from university, or people who have one or two years of experience,” Tan says.
He adds that he is looking particularly for talents with a ‘start-up mentality’, who can experiment, innovate and challenge themselves. “We are in a unique position. Being only eight months old, we are just like a start up; in an exciting phase with huge potential for growth. Yet, we also have the infrastructure and support of UOB. It is an environment where there is flexibility to innovate, but with a safety net.”
UOB Innovation Hub 2 offers significant scope for its talents to accelerate their careers. “As a new setup, there is a lot of headroom for people to do new things. This is not limited to technology, it also applies to how we work and train. There is a lot of experimentation that can happen,” Tan says.
He explains that UOB Innovation Hub 2 is in the process of creating its own technology academy to enable new talents to become familiar with the organisation and the architecture of its systems in a very short time.
It has also created an innovative career path, which places great emphasis on building up employees’ technology capabilities. Its talent development programme for fresh graduate hires from local and foreign universities in Malaysia offers mentoring as well as structured on-the-job training and assessment.
Young talents who join at a junior associate level are given the choice of two career paths. They can become a specialist technologist in either an established or emerging technology, eventually becoming a distinguished engineer. Alternatively, they can choose to be a people and functional leader, who will ultimately manage a department and provide functional leadership to their teams.
“It is different from the traditional bank career path elsewhere. It enables people to develop and become the best of themselves. There is a war for talent everywhere. We are differentiating ourselves by offering structured training and the opportunity for people to launch themselves ahead of their peers,” Tan says.
UOB Innovation Hub 2 also offers flexibility for talents to move across different business areas within their chosen field of technology. For example, a talent working in app development could move from core banking to cards. “Digital and enterprise technology is another interchangeable pool. At the junior level, talents have the option to cycle between different pools before developing their technical specialisation,” Tan explains.
He adds that as a young organisation, UOB Innovation Hub 2 has a vibrant and dynamic culture, from incorporating a remote-controlled car race event into its learning and development day, regular PechaKuchua sessions, to hosting a pop-up coffee events. “We are encouraging our people to exchange and implement new ideas in all facets of work,” Tan says.
The group is looking for both local and foreign talent based in Malaysia. It also has support from the government to bring in talent with niche skills from overseas.
To anyone thinking of joining the team, Tan says: “Just do it! Take charge of your career. This is a unique opportunity to join our exciting family. For the experienced, there is a huge amount of difference that you can make through Innovation Hub 2. For the young, there is the freedom to pursue your passion. For everyone, there is the chance to build a legacy and make a difference.”