By Russell Bennett, Chief Technology Officer
Across the world, fintech organisations are facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining the talent they need to grow and prosper in the future. There is no doubt there is a widespread demand for talent, especially technology-based talent, across the financial services sector but financial services organisations of all types are struggling to fill the vacancies. The situation in the UK today shines the spotlight on these concerns.
In a recent survey by Hays Financial Markets which polled 900 workers and employers in the City and the rest of the UK, 61% of employers said they have faced a moderate to extreme skills shortage during 2017. Technology skills are among those that are highly sought after according to the survey. This shortage of key technology skills will impact not just traditional banking and financial services organisations but also the rapidly burgeoning array of fintech-specific organisations
The pending arrival of Brexit looks set to make many of these skills shortages issues worse for UK-based businesses that rely on fintech. A new report from Innovate Finance, an independent membership association that represents the UK’s global fintech community, forecasts that on current performance the sector is set to grow to more than 100,000 employees, and the number of UK fintech companies more than double to 3,300, by the year 2030.
However, 82% of companies polled stated that they already face difficulties in recruiting non-EEA migrants. Under the most likely scenario for future immigration policy, in which the system for EEA migrants moves closer to that for non-EEA migrants, the report predicts a shortfall of 3,200 highly-skilled workers by 2030. This is projected to equate to a direct loss of £361 million to the sector.
Against the backdrop of such a challenging environment, much of which is outside their control, it is increasingly important that fintech organisations do all they can to focus on recruitment and retention strategies that allow them to attract skilled staff, help them to foster their development and encourage them to stay with the organisation over the long-term.
Finding a Better Approach to Fintech Recruitment
Most fintech organisations face similar challenges when it comes to recruitment. Typically, they are all looking for technology experts – designers, developers and systems architects, who not only understand business but also how to use technology to solve business problems. This kind of resource is in short supply. Finding fintech talent with relevant experience is rare indeed – and when businesses do find such candidates they often have to compete with a raft of competitors in order to secure their signature.
That’s why traditional recruitment approaches such as placing adverts in relevant publications typically have limited impact. Fintech businesses must be much more proactive and make use of all outbound channels of engagement available to them in order to track down and attract potential recruits. One such channel is what we at Fraedom call ‘crowdsourcing’, essentially a ‘bottom up’ approach to recruitment, which involves likeminded people referring industry talent (who then subsequently also go through Fraedom’s rigorous internal recruitment programme). At Fraedom, this approach has been extremely successful – and we now achieve 40% of our placements this way. In addition to pursuing such an approach, it is also important that businesses look to cast the net wider and leverage existing recruitment networks to bring in new talent.
More generally, this proactive engagement is critically important in positioning the opportunities of working with a fintech company correctly. After all, if the industry wants to ensure that a lot more people heading into work start their careers in the technology space, then we need to make certain that across schools, colleges and universities there is a much better understanding of the industry and what it’s like to work for a technology company.
That’s why we see a place for fintech ‘boot camps’ aimed at attracting more people into the technology talent pool. The focus could be on running intensive short courses (of a week or so in duration), where interested parties visit multiple companies across the industry, speak in detail to senior staff and learn about the business environment and the type of work fintechs generally do.
In what is becoming an ever more attractive landscape, it is critical that fintechs pursue this strong focus on attracting the best talent. After all, today’s candidates know that they are negotiating from a position of strength. Many have grown up with the culture of tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook and are therefore looking for the kinds of perks and benefits that they perceive working for such businesses would bring.
The big draw varies depending on the employee and might be anything from stock options, which are particularly popular in the US; generous salary settlements; more flexible working hours with a change to the typical 9-5 view of a job, to higher levels of autonomy often associated with working for a nimble, agile business with an enticing focus on innovation and disrupting the status quo. While employee benefits are key in attracting candidates and retaining them within the organisation, the prevailing business culture is equally, if not even more, important.
Keeping Employees in the Fold
Recruiting staff is only part of the battle though. Fintechs also need to be able to retain them over the long-term. That means offering them the training they need to progress within the organisation but also build the skills required to get more out of what they are doing today and gain more insight into how they might want to develop in the future.
With this in mind, in-house training courses should offer a broad selection of different options to match the needs of every employee. Courses should be carefully structured rather than ad hoc. Employees should be able to quickly and easily see what is available to them. New recruits might want to quickly build a rich portfolio of different skills, for example. Experienced workers, on the other hand, might be looking to move out of their comfort zone and try something new. They might, for example, be a business analyst, and be looking to try out becoming a tester, developer or a product owner.
Whatever the precise scenario, the best fintech training schemes should offer a wide range of choice. It is critical that fintech employees are given the chance to improve and expand their skills. If they feel that there is little prospect to advance their career and/or their own skillsets, employees will be more inclined to leave and get a job elsewhere.
This opportunity for freedom of choice needs to extend beyond the training sphere, however. Typically today, fewer and fewer employees want to be ‘shoe-horned’ into a traditional hierarchical approach and pushed into managerial jobs that might not necessarily suit them. Flat structures that empower workers to express themselves and remove all managers and team leads, are becoming ever more popular. Rather than being constrained by technology, employees should be freed up to experiment and to express themselves without fear of failure.
For fintechs, the key must be around developing an empowering management philosophy where staff are encouraged to take risks together with a stimulating and inspiring workplace, where creativity thrives. From development, right through to product, sales and marketing, it’s important that people are actively encouraged to excel and grow in an agile, collaborative and inventive environment where talent is recognised and rewarded.
It’s all part of a twin track approach which fintechs will increasingly need to adopt if they are to survive and thrive in the future. Getting their recruitment strategy right is critically important for fintechs if they want to be competitive in the future but it will be equally key for them to nurture their employees, provide relevant training and engagement opportunities and focus on staff engagement, if they want to succeed in the long-run. It’s yet another example of the importance of workplace culture – this time in staff retention. Having a competitive benefit programme is a ‘nice to have’ but if the prevailing business culture doesn’t appeal upfront, people won’t join the company. And conversely, if it fails to challenge and nurture, people will leave.
On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a ‘zero waste’ future
By Natalie Thomas
LONDON (Reuters) – Heralded by the whirr of its underpowered electric engine and the clink of bottles stacked in crates on the back, Ella Shone’s ‘Topup Truck’ started life ferrying morning milk to the doorsteps of bleary-eyed Londoners.
Twenty years on, and the light vehicle known as a ‘milk float’ – once a ubiquitous sight on British streets – is enjoying a second career selling a range of goods and serving the 32-year-old’s quest to rid the city of single-use plastic.
“The fact that I’m driving around in a milk float does a lot for raising awareness in the local area,” said Shone, wearing a black beanie during her rounds in the borough of Hackney last week. “So now I’m operating at almost full capacity.”
Furloughed from her sales job during the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Shone used savings to start her new business, aiming to meet growing demand for household goods free of the plastic packaging used in supermarkets.
Customers book a visit from the ‘Topup Truck’ online and then purchase goods such as lentils, pasta, olive oil, shampoo or washing up liquid using their own containers.
From a low base a decade ago, the market for such unpackaged bulk goods could hit at least 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) by 2030 in the European Union, according to a report https://zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020_06_30_zwe_pfs_executive_study.pdf by Zero Waste Europe, an anti-waste network.
While handling the logistics can be a challenge, Shone calculates that her service has eliminated the need for at least 12,700 pieces of plastic since it launched in August.
Planning a crowdfunder to retrofit her milk float to enable her to serve a greater range of products to more communities, Shone hopes her novel approach will inspire others to find creative ways to tackle waste.
“If we want to have real change, it has to be a collective effort,” she said.
($1 = 0.8218 euros)
(Writing by Matthew Green, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery
BERLIN (Reuters) – Lufthansa is adding more holiday destinations to its summer flight schedule from Germany in anticipation of a strong rebound in bookings, it said on Thursday, betting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will soon make vacation travel possible.
Germany’s largest airline said it was planning to add around 20 new destinations from Frankfurt and 13 from Munich to locations such as the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and Greece.
COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with strict hygiene rules at airports and on planes, will be prerequisites for travel this summer, it said.
“We expect many countries to relax travel restrictions towards the summer as more and more people have been vaccinated,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister said in a statement.
Hohmeister said the airline, which secured a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout last year, expects a sharp increase in demand once restrictions are lifted.
Concerned about more transmissible coronavirus mutations, many European Union countries have reinstated border controls in what is normally a passport-free travel zone.
“There is a great yearning for travel and we believe that the summer months will reflect this,” Hohmeister added.
In Britain, holiday bookings soared this week after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.
Plans for relaxing coronavirus travel restrictions have not been announced yet in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss lockdown options with the head of the regional governments next Wednesday.
Lufthansa, which said in January it was losing a million euros every two hours, is due to publish its fourth quarter results on March 4.
($1 = 0.8187 euros)
(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Ilona Wissenbach. Editing by Mark Potter)
TRUiC Evaluates The Latest Additions to Registered Agents in the US
The US is still the top choice for new businesses that have a global focus. That is not to say that they are all physically located there. Despite the pandemic creating challenges for startups seeking investment, many are still steaming ahead. More and more, companies from Europe and Asia dominate Amazon and other distribution chains in the US via a US registered entity that relies on a registered agent. What should you know about registered agents?
When forming an LLC, there are a few additions to registered agent services in 2021 that could be extremely helpful to ensure that you always maintain your privacy, never miss important mail, and make you aware of legal obligations that may occur without being too costly or complicated. When you are launching a startup as an entrepreneur, it is vital to decide which registered agent service as they act as a point of contact between a business and a state and will greatly benefit your small business in the long-term.
In short, a registered agent will primarily act as your business’s main channel of communication with your states’ government. A non-profit, corporation or LLC can appoint a registered agent service to receive government correspondence, compliance documents on behalf of the business, and service of process – which is arguably the most important role of a registered agent as this informs an entity or individual of an impending lawsuit against him/her or the company.
Suggested video – What is a Registered Agent by TRUiC:
Next will be a review and comparison between the features of the best online business services of 2021 to see which is the top registered agent service when forming an LLC:
Assisting in the formation of over 800,000 businesses, partnerships with experienced legal professionals like Rocket Lawyer makes for a great option to serve as your registered agent service, all thanks to their 100% satisfaction guarantee. Although their services cost slightly more, they can still provide a full year for free if you subscribe to their Accelerate legal service plan for $49.95/month. Additional benefits include:
- The company is supported by Google Ventures
- Norton Web Security Protection & Information website
- Legal Services Pan which includes consultations with business attorneys
Classified as high-quality registered agent services and boasting over 150,000 customers served since 200, Incfile offers lower prices and a free subscription for one year with any incorporation filing purchase. They also provide their clients with a user -friendly website, that is protected by Norton Web Security, and free information available in their Learning Centre.
Northwest Registered Agent
If industry experience and premium customer support are important to you then the following might be the best service for you. Established in 1998, Northwest Registered Agent has made a name for themselves and is one of TRUiCs’ top picks as they are known to being the most friendly LLC service available. Not only do they provide the best email/phone support, but they also locally scan every document you receive, ensuring that you will never miss paperwork and eradicating surprises.
Whilst getting great customer support and a unique dashboard, Harbor Compliance’s registered agent services will also offer discounts to their customers who pay up-front for multiple years and service to those in multiple states. Plus:
- Website protection by Norton and Trustwave
- Free compliance guides and whitepapers
- Document delivery and scanning on the same day
After careful consideration of many other registered agent services, ZenBusiness has been rated best. This small business formation service was founded in 2015 by a team of entrepreneurs who cracked the code to the barriers that others continue to face today and help their respective clients launch their businesses successfully.
Not only will the start of your enterprise go smoothly, but they will also help you stay compliant with government laws, accept service of process and other tax and legal documents, and provide you with an overall peace-of-mind so you can focus all your time and energy on running your business.
Although LegalZoom is the costliest of these options, they had to be mentioned as this registered agent service has extensive experience and capabilities with an informative and North Secure Website and a broad range of business services. Boasting with a large platform of nearly 4 million customers, LegalZoom may be more convenient for you if you have other legal services operating through them as well.
Why should you designate a registered agent service for your business?
By appointing a suitable registered agent service you will be able to maintain your privacy, be alerted to legal obligations that may crop up without breaking the bank or complicating things, and these registered agent services will ensure that you never miss a beat when it comes to crucial paperwork and delivery of important documents. There really aren’t many downsides to working with an online registered agent service provider, and the penalties for not having a registered agent heavily outweigh the cost.
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