Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK in 2023.
Pankaj is the Chief Engineer for Admiral Group. He has over 25 years of technology experience in financial services, having worked in India, New Zealand, Denmark and the UK. He brings with him significant experience in building an engineering culture and capability in large organisations.
How did you get into IT?
After completing my MBA in Finance from a reputed institute in India back in late 90s, the IT boom meant there were plenty of opportunities to get into the technology sector. I joined that influx, not knowing really what it meant. But that was the best decision of my professional life. This career has allowed me to learn so much, travel and work in different places, value diversity and become a more tolerant person
How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?
Admiral is committed to diversity and has been for several years. As part of our diversity and inclusion agenda, we:
- Ensure all the vacancies are added to the diversity jobs boards (there are multiple covering diverse backgrounds)
- Engage with diverse communities via our outreach programme (this includes working closely with Cardiff Commitment to reach more socially deprived areas)
- Support various Women in Tech strategy and initiatives
- Sponsor initiatives like Aspire (introduce people into technology via internships - covering ethnically diverse backgrounds).
I am a huge fan of diversity of thinking and therefore am a supporter of initiatives like Code First Girls, that allow people from different backgrounds to get in IT.
Which technology are you currently most excited by?
Generative AI. I am confident that this is one of those innovations that will have a significant impact on our everyday life. Although it's early days, I am amazed by what the technology can do already and the potential use cases that it can be applied to. We still must fully understand the social, commercial, and regulatory implications of this technology and as such I am watching this space with great interest.
What would an outsider find the most surprising part of your job?
My role is about building software engineering excellence, which has a strong technology aspect to it - but most of my focus continues to be around people. I strongly believe that real transformation happens through our people and if we get that right, then we are well on our way towards the technology excellence.
I also seem to spend a lot of time talking about conveyor belts, manufacturing processes, removing reliance on heroes, governance as an enabler for agility etc.
All of these seemingly random words help me demystify the method of software engineering for my stakeholders. One can easily underestimate the effort needed, to simplify and explain what engineering excellence looks like.
What's your secret talent?
Not sure if this is a talent - but I choose to be happy, everyday.
I am also a decent cook and most weekends, I try out something new and different. My daughter acts as my sous chef and together we end up deviating from the recipes regularly.
What makes you laugh?
The banter between my teenage kids is my regular source of laughter. And yes... a good dad joke always gets me going.