CARY – MetLife plans to hire 400 new workers who will be based in the Triangle, the company announced on Wednesday morning.  And it will do so by the end of 2022, if all goes according to plan. The emphasis is on tech skills.

Bill Pappas, executive vice president and head of global technology and operations at MetLife, tells WRAL TechWire:

“We are looking for critical skillsets on the technology side, including software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and operational engineering, as well as we’re looking to hire service operations associates to join our team.”

In a statement, the company noted the hiring plans as a “doubling down on hiring” as a demonstration that MetLife remains committed to the Triangle and to the state of North Carolina, where it employs more than 2,700.

A building at the Cary, N.C. MetLife campus. Image credit: Lauren DesArmo.

Some 2,600 of those workers are based out of Cary’s Global Technology and Operations (GTO) campus in Cary, a campus which also houses the first phase of Apple’s east coast hub in the Triangle.

The hiring plan isn’t tied to any economic development incentives, nor will it take place over a period of a few years.  Instead, the company says it will be ramping up recruitment and hiring events, including offering tech meetups, hackathons, expanding community partnerships, and continuing its role with the Triangle Tech X conference later this year, hosted by MetLife on November 30 and December 1.

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400 new hires by Dec. 31

Pappas tells WRAL TechWire that the company could bring on board the 400 new workers by the end of this year in an interview.

“We’re going to be hiring 400 positions to fill both technology but also service operations needs that we have in Cary, and we are going to be aiming to hire those by year-end,” said Pappas.

Those positions will include those that will be in-person positions on-campus, as well as some that will by hybrid positions, and those that could be 100% remote, a spokesperson for the company told WRAL TechWire this week.  Still, even the remote positions would be asked to be in the general Triangle area, due to certain training needs and ongoing company operations from the Cary campus.

“We have a huge technology campus in Cary,” said Pappas.  “And a network of more than 2,600 employees.”

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MetLife seeking to add tech talent

This hiring plan is one that has been deliberate, he noted in the interview, adding that the company will expand how it traditionally recruits and attracts talented workers in order to fill roles.

In fact, said Pappas, the hiring programs are all a part of a new strategy that the company is employing currently, and plans to continue to use moving forward.

That strategy is tied to how the company approaches its customers, which Pappas called the organization’s “North Star.”

According to Pappas, MetLife has seen increasing demand for technology products and services, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the company anticipates that demand will continue, not just on digital platforms, but also through more traditional means of communication, including phone calls to associates who can assist customers across a variety of possible lines of inquiry.

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Demand increasing

“We have seen the customers’ demand for digitization increase, and we are responding to that,” said Pappas.  “Continue with what we’ve done through the pandemic in building those digital capabilities.”

Compare that to what Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said last week, announcing that the company would cut 23% of its workforce just a few months after laying off 9% of its workers globally.  Tenev said that the company made hiring decisions based on the “assumption that the heightened retail engagement we had been seeing with the stock and crypto markets in the COVID era would persist into 2022” in a blog post published on the Robinhood website.

But the company’s bet turned out to be wrong, at least based on their latest move, which included layoffs of 82 workers in Charlotte and shutting down a facility at which the company had once promised the state of North Carolina it would employ nearly 400 workers.

Still, an uptick in customer demand was one of the items cited by Fidelity Investments, which also maintains a large campus in the Triangle and announced it would step up existing hiring plans to add 1,700 jobs in May of this year, following earlier commitments to add 1,500 and then an additional 500 workers.  And a Fidelity executive told WRAL TechWire that it was the region’s strong talent base, not the promise of economic incentives, that led the decision for the company to expand its workforce in the region, following the first hiring expansion announcement in May 2021.

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MetLife focuses on Triangle

Even in a volatile labor market, with tens of thousands of open jobs, yet companies still announcing job cuts or expressing concerns about the current economic climate, Pappas says that MetLife will always be active in the Triangle’s labor markets, looking for the best talent.

“Our associates are our number one priority,” said Pappas.  “We will be consistently looking for that top talent, and we want them to be a part of our team.”

And the company is expanding where it looks for talent.  According to a statement the company released today, the organization will host a variety of events, in addition to ongoing recruitment efforts in the region.

The company’s careers webpage listed 143 available job openings as of Wednesday morning, and WRAL TechWire tracks these openings, as well as those at other employers across the region, in the weekly WRAL TechWire Jobs Report.  MetLife instituted a minimum wage for all positions of $20 per hour in August 2021, which a spokesperson noted this week would primarily affect the company’s customer service associate positions.

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