If any bank is struggling with the task of heaving its legacy IT systems into the 21st century, that bank is surely Deutsche Bank. Previously accused of being dysfunctional by none other than its own COO, Deutsche's dilapidated IT systems helped sink the merger with Commerzbank. Attempts to get to grips with IT have also arguably sunk several DB COOs.
It's interesting, then, that it's not Deutsche Bank but another European bank that stands out for the continued use of dated software. - SocGen is by far the biggest hirer of COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) programmers in the finance industry.*(Update: SocGen say they only had a lot of Cobol jobs due to an error with their recruitment system.)
SocGen's website reveals that the French bank is currently advertising 48 open COBOL positions. This is more than twice as much as its nearest rival (Bank of America), more than three times as many as Citi and JPMorgan and eight times as many as Deutsche Bank (which only has six).
So much for Deutsche clinging to the old ways.
Some banks aren't currently hiring any COBOL programmers at all. Goldman Sachs, for example, has no vacancies for anyone versed in a programming language invented in the 1950s. JPMorgan's 12 COBOL jobs are despite its program to "kill the tail" and eradicate unnecessary legacy code.
Banks typically use COBOL to work on their mainframe-specific jobs and for retail processing services. This latter function may be one reason why SocGen (a major French retail bank) is so hot on hiring COBOL expertise. Recruiters say that COBOL programmers are hard to come by and can therefore earn 25% more than people who code in Java.
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