Most of the affected permanent staff hold executive and managerial positions at Standard Bank. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Most of the affected permanent staff hold executive and managerial positions at Standard Bank. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

The future of more than 500 Standard Bank employees hangs in the balance as SA’s biggest bank by assets is looking to revamp its IT division.

The bank said that it had concluded an IT review, and it had showed it needed to adapt its operating model and skills set.

"This process will result in 526 IT employees receiving section 189 notices, which will commence the consultative process with the employees involved," the company said on Wednesday.

The bank said the jobs that would be shed were in the traditional IT space, which would probably include people who worked with legacy systems and old application programs that were being phased out.

Most of the affected permanent staff held executive and managerial positions.

But Standard Bank said that the number of people who would get notices was not an indication of the final number of employees who might lose their jobs.

The final number would be determined once the consultative process was complete. Eugene Ebersohn, assistant general secretary of the bank’s representative union, the South African Society of Bank Officials, said that as new roles would be created and some of the staff would be moved to other positions and branches, it looked as if only about 179 people could eventually end up without jobs.

"We’ve engaged with the bank to minimise the negative effect, and the bank has engaged its vendors to see if the affected employees’ skills can be used elsewhere because many have specialised skills and can become consultants," said Ebersohn.

Standard Bank said the restructuring would create new capabilities, which should result in more than 180 "new-generation" IT positions in areas of cloud engineering, data science and analytics and cyber security, among others.

This is the second time in five years that Standard Bank has restructured its IT division.

In 2013, the bank announced that it was looking to reduce
the number of internal IT support roles, citing inefficiencies and duplication.

This time, Standard Bank said customers were increasingly demanding a seamless user experience, and it wanted to ready itself for the next wave of technological changes. The bank said that all affected employees would be provided with support in their search for alternative employment,  and that it had enlisted counselling services and financial planners to assist affected employees if this was needed.

Standard Bank’s possible job cuts come amid concern that the "organisational redesign" in its subsidiary Liberty could lead
to job losses at both Liberty  and Stanlib.