Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) recently commented on the job cuts and branch closures affecting banks and workforces in the country. This comes on the back of CABS announcing they would close 4 branches later this year and First Capital reportedly planning to lay off close to 200 staffers.
We checked on the authenticity of the information doing the rounds on social media and we got confirmation that it’s [CABS closing branches] true. As for the reasons, we were advised that the bank has sufficient branch network to service those same clients and also that the business thereof from the said branches has gone down to levels not meeting their strategic thresholds.
Zibawu general secretary Shepherd Ngandu on CABS branch closures
Digital banking is upon us and the impacts in the short term look to be negative for low-level staff employed by banks. Whilst banks will have you believe that the move to digital won’t have much of an impact it seems the opposite is happening right now with work staffs thinning out as automation takes over.
First Capital Bank Zimbabwe can confirm that some employees will be exiting the bank under a compulsory restructuring exercise. This has come on the back of a review of the operating model aimed at creating operational efficiencies. The exercise also seeks to respond to local and global trends impacting the banking industry
Emily Nemapare – First Capital Bank Head of corporate affairs and customer service
The push to digital is meant to benefit the clients and having looked at some of the functionality available in Standard Chartered’s new mobile app it’s hard to argue against.
When the digital push is coupled with what’s happening locally, however, you can see how pressure on banks is ratcheted up a notch. ZIBAWU also noted that economic hardships are part of the problem and Zimbabwe being a cashless economy (already), you can see how some employees in the banking sector might be more disposable than they were a few years ago.
For a long time, the conversation has shifted towards workers (in and outside banking) equipping themselves with digital skills and this looks like the only way for employees to remain valuable. If you are a low-level banker and you learn something like Artificial Intelligence, maybe when the retrenchment shaped axe strikes you will be safe since you can offer your employer something in demand.