Pressure from Covid has driven surging demand for local customer service and operations expertise, with Westpac announcing it will bring home 1,000 jobs from overseas to plug operational gaps and reduce the potential for “offshore disruption”.
The bank said the new roles, to be filled by both new and existing staff, will be allocated across Westpac’s call centres as well as the bank’s home lending and consumer finance operations.
The reallocation process is estimated to take around 12 months to complete.
Westpac chief executive Peter King cited “challenging conditions” within its home lending processing and call centres for its decision to reassign the jobs locally, acknowledging customer “response times… have been too slow”.
The move will no doubt be a significant outlay for Westpac, which is expected to add around $45 million to its expanse sheet by the end of 2021.
“Today’s announcement is a further step in transforming our business and mortgage operations, helping to support local employment, reducing the risk of offshore disruption, and accelerating our ability to simplify processes through digitisation,” King said.
All dedicated voice roles will also be returned to Australia, King said, boosting call centre capacity.
“This will mean when a customer calls us, it will be answered by someone in Australia.”
The bank’s swift transition to work from home, and no doubt significant reduction in overhead costs resulting from this, has made locally sourced workforces once more an attractive prospect.
“Bringing jobs back to Australia has been made possible with the changing work patterns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the upgrade to our technology infrastructure over recent years. Together these have enabled our teams to operate effectively at home or in other locations when needed,” King said.
Westpac said the new roles will become part of a “more distributed workforce structure across Australia which will better meet Westpac’s business needs in the long term”.
King said that the locally reassigned jobs will be distributed across regional and metro areas.