This Swedish Bank Is on a Hiring Spree, But Not for Bankers

(Bloomberg) -- SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks, is on a hiring spree to burnish its technology credentials as more financial services go digital.

Chief Executive Officer Johan Torgeby says SEB is hiring as many as “1,400-1,500 people a year right now,” or “about 100 per month.”

The bank is taking on people “mainly in new technology, computer scientists, new areas within customer journey design,” he said in an interview.

Though the figure doesn’t reflect the net flow of jobs at SEB, which is based in Stockholm, it shows how banking is no longer dominated by those with purely financial skills. As banks increasingly prepare to compete with technology giants like Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., the banker of the future is as much a fintech expert as a corporate finance number cruncher.

Not all banks are responding to the digital age in the same way. Nordea Bank AB, the biggest financial conglomerate in the Nordic region, is in the process of cutting 6,000 positions, including 2,000 consultants, to transform itself into a leaner, more digital version of its former self. CEO Casper von Koskull said this week the bank’s job cuts were proceeding according to plan.

The Nordea CEO, who says the bank is still hiring despite net cuts, argues that it’s not feasible for the finance industry, among others, to continue with the number of humans it has today.

“I think it is a general trend in many traditional industries which will have less people overall,” he said in an interview. “That transition will take time and some of that will be very natural attrition that will take place, and it will happen in many other industries as well.”

“We all need to understand that our industry, and many other industries and society, is going through a tremendous change that we need to be prepared for,” he said.

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