Martijn Hohmann, CEO, Five Degrees
The FinTech opportunity
Across the world the FinTech (financial technology) industry is booming, and at its core are the various start-ups, scale-ups, and institutions which act as the lifeblood to keep it running.
According to the KPMG Pulse of FinTech 2018 report, global FinTech funding has hit $57.9 billion dollars across 875 deals.
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As the FinTech industry continues to diversify established hubs and new markets, such as the UK, Europe, US, Asia and Latin America, will continue to expand enabled by emerging technologies including AI, RPA, blockchain, and Open Banking.
Why is there a skills gap?
Despite the huge potential of FinTech, access to and retention of best-in-class talent is a growing concern within the industry on a global basis, and the greatest of these skill shortages is occurring within the technical talent sector.
Recruitment is an ongoing challenge across all industries, not just for FinTech. However, the current global FinTech skills shortage means that it is even more crucial for employers to understand what motivates their workforce if they are to attract, develop, and retain employees.
In today’s employment landscape, packages, perks, and flexible working practices are highly competitive from company to company, so it’s essential that FinTechs make themselves stand out from the crowd.
At the same time, hiring and integrating new talent into an organisation costs organisations time and resource. Candidate screening, conducting interviews, negotiating employment terms, and on-boarding a new hire for a role can take as long as six months – so it’s important to get this right first time.
What can FinTechs do to overcome the skills shortage?
According to a recent report by Ryerson University (2017) entitled, “Investigating the Global FinTech Talent Shortage,” three main themes have been identified in overcoming the global skills shortage. These include educational interventions, incubators and extra-curricular activities, and government and regulatory interventions.
FinTech businesses must continue to embrace collaborations with educational institutions, as a way of fostering learning and building awareness among the next generation of FinTech talent.
Many universities around the world are promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs for students and bespoke FinTech education for adult learning.
By working hand-in-hand with educational institutions and initiatives to channel enthusiasm and learning for financial technology, FinTechs will establish a platform to attract future employees who are passionate about the industry. Examples of involvement has included establishing a presence in schools and university career fairs, hosting talks, lectures and interactive workshops for students, and providing placements for internships and apprenticeship schemes.
Incubators and extra-curricular activities
Incubators and seed accelerator programs are currently being fostered by the industry, to help the entrepreneurial community to accelerate ventures by providing incubation services with a focus on education and mentoring.
This is great for those who have a passion already but what about people who aren’t aware of the opportunities that FinTech brings?
The development of online education programmes for FinTech related skills for adult learners and university students, and bespoke curriculums for primary and high schools is helping to hone FinTech technical skills for the future.
FinTech companies are also utilising event networks to promote their companies to students and professionals. Through co-hosting, sponsoring, and attending events that celebrate the industry, businesses will be able to sound out future employee prospects.
Government and Policy interventions
The work that government policy makers and regulatory bodies are engaged with is crucial in reducing the time taken for hiring best-in-class talent. These bodies play a vital role in incentivising FinTechs and helping businesses to overcome regulatory hurdles to access talent. Through these institutions, a range of programmes and services can help to make it easier for FinTech businesses to get off the ground quickly.
Establishing a culture of innovation
A final area that is important to note is company culture. If companies have a culture that supports innovation in-house it will help to attract highly talented, curious, motivated, and innovative people.
At the same time, up-skilling current workforces to develop technical skills through appropriate training programmes, will equip employees with new capabilities to help drive efficiencies and improve productivity across the business. This will help future-proof FinTechs for bringing in the right people who are invested for long-term success.