Commonwealth Bank of Australia has launched a bold recruitment plan to employ more than 600 software engineers in one of the biggest intakes in recent history.

The bank wants to grow its network of engineers by at least 50 a month for the foreseeable future, appointing specialists across a range of disciplines, including software, data, and test engineers.

The new hires will join the 4,000-strong workforce of software engineers at the bank.

The recruitment drive comes as part of a strategy to operate more like a global tech company as it works to improve customer-facing interactions.

CBA CEO Matt Comyn has been open about the bank’s acceleration of its digital strategy in recent months, saying the bank aims to provide customers with one of the best digital experiences of any company globally.

Speaking at a CBA 2021 technology briefing, Comyn said the bank wants to remain the country’s clear leader in digital banking.

“We recognise customers are no longer just benchmarking us against other financial institutions.

“They compare us with the best digital experiences they get from any business in the world.

“We intend to be at the global forefront of the digital experience, and be the trusted partner at the centre of our customers’ financial lives.”

He also referenced the bank’s continued investment in its Customer Engagement Engine (CCE) as an example of its commitment to deliver best-in-class experiences.

The CCE now runs around 400 machine-learning models and ingests about 157 billion data points in real time, in order to make 35 million decisions per day.

Commonwealth Bank will no doubt be putting its money where its mouth is given the talent shortage being experienced in Australia due to the pandemic.

According to ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021 report, Australia needs an estimated 60,000 additional IT workers every year for the next five years.

Prior to COVID-19, more than 100,000 migrants came to Australia each year under the skilled migration program, which has been shelved due to border closures.

This has forced technology companies to take extreme and expensive measures to find talent, according to some reports.

CBA hopes a new role, called ‘Distinguished Engineer’ will lure new talent.

The bank’s Chief Information Officer for Technology, Brendan Hopper, is the first of three new Distinguished Engineers to be appointed by the bank.

Each will be responsible for influencing the strategic planning processes, transforming the bank’s digital experiences.

The new hires will be working on a range of projects and digital products underway.

Hand-selected from both external and internal channels, the Distinguished Engineers are chosen for their engineering acumen, thought leadership, strategic thinking, and ability to solve complex problems and drive change.

“The pace of change is accelerating and we want to be in front of the curve. Our customers will benchmark us not against the other banks, but against best digital experiences, full stop,” said Hopper.

To deliver global-best experiences, the bank needs a world-class engineering network, which is why it wants to appoint in excess of two new engineers every day from a variety of disciplines, he says.

The new engineers would help solve customer problems, and, in turn, ensure the bank delivers a best-in-class, global leading customer service experience, Hopper says.

“Our network of engineers will help the bank in its ambition to be not only a leading digital player in the banking industry, but deliver digital experiences for our customers that are leading against a global peer set,” he says.