- 179 jobs lost between 2020 and 2021
- Job losses partly attributed to automation
While a welcome development in terms of customers’ convenience, digital adoption by banks is proving to be a major risk to jobs in the industry.
Fresh figures indicate that employment levels in the banking industry dropped last year partly due to growing automation in the sector. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of people employed in the banking sector declined by 179, from 5 142 in 2020 to 4 963 in 2021, reflecting a 3.5 percent decrease over the period. This is according to the Banking Supervision Report which links the fall in employment at banks to increased automation and use of digital channels.
Other factors that led to a decline in jobs at banks are rationalisation, staff resignations and retirements. The decline, according to the report, was felt more at large banks, with the number of personnel decreasing by 6 percent, from 3 665 in 2020 to 3 444 in 2021. But while there was a decrease in staff complement for some banks, there was an increase with respect to five banks. “Small banks increased personnel by 2.3 percent from 940 in 2020 to 962 in 2021,” states the report.
The number of expatriate employees in the banking sector also went down during the period, from 56 in 2020 to 51 in 2021. Figures from the report indicate that First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) remains the largest employer in the banking industry, with 1 318 employees by the end of 2021, down from 1 375 in 2020. It is followed by Absa Bank Botswana with a headcount of 1 049 by the end of last year from 1 101 employees it had the year before.
By the end of 2021, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana employed a total of 532 people, from 632 in 2020. On the other hand, Stanbic Bank lost a few employees during the period, ending 2021 with 545 workers compared to 557 in 2020. Recently, locally-based banks have stepped up their digitisation processes, anchoring their strategies around digital adoption.
Use of digital channels by banks has seen customers now able to open bank accounts in the comfort of their homes, a trend that is expected to continue to have an impact on banking jobs. About two weeks ago, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Botswana, Mpho Masupe, told this publication that the bank has been able to reskill and retool its employees to align them with the requirements of new jobs offered by digitisation.
“One thing that is important to us is that because of our strategy and the manner in which we would like to digitise, it is quite critical that we retool our employees and make sure they are able to operate in a digital bank,” Masupe said. Although he admitted that the bank had had to let go of some of its employees, he stressed that reskilling them was a top priority. “Even if we continue to close or merge certain branches, we do it with so much confidence because we know that have retooled our people,” said Masupe.