The Fintech sector has grown rapidly in recent years. In fact, BCG’s Fintech Control Tower currently places the number of Fintech companies worldwide at over 26,000.
Fintech companies are fast moving by their very nature. So their hiring processes need to be too. And given that the industry is so competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, Fintech businesses have their work cut out for them. They need to:
- Accelerate and automate recruitment and onboarding processes as much as possible,
- without sacrificing candidate experience,
- while still meeting ALL regulatory and compliance requirements
That’s a big ask!
Not to mention the fact that they need to achieve all of the above, while still hiring the right (and the best) person for the job. Every. Single. Time.
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Having worked with some of the world's leading Fintech recruiters, we have collated this list of 5 talents, characteristics, and experiences essential to a good Fintech hire in 2021. They are:
- Technical Skills
- Change leadership and management skills
- Flexibility and resilience
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5 non-negotiables in Fintech Recruitment:
1. Technical Skills
The financial sector was previously heavily reliant on trustworthy individuals to oversee paper-based transactions. From customer onboarding through to cash deposits, most operations were carried out the old-fashioned way, with paper and ink.
But the Fintech revolution has changed everything. Financial transactions are now dependent on people who are not just comfortable with, but highly proficient in, the use of technology. They need to be able to conceptualise and then execute ideas which will continue to drive technology forward.
So skills such as programming, data science, and test automation are key in Fintech recruitment. These will all prove useful in the delivery of big ideas. And any experience in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and machine learning are also valuable in developing higher levels of customer engagement in any Fintech solutions.
But Fintech isn’t just restricted to disrupters, newcomers and startups. The consumer reliance on virtual banking and financial apps has become a way of life. This has resulted in traditional banking institutions investing heavily in Fintech to stay relevant.
This might necessitate retraining, or reskilling, current employees in the use of newer systems or processes. Using HR systems which can track employees throughout employment will not only help HR departments stay on top of key training, but also ensure Fintech background screening and checks required for AML compliance are up to date.
2. Change Leadership/Change Management Skills
As previously mentioned, an influx of challenger banks who embrace new technology from the outset means that established banks must be prepared to make massive changes to their way of working to keep up.
However, these changes can be disconcerting for current staff who may be resistant to change. To ensure success, existing employees must be supported to enable banks to fully leverage growing opportunities in Fintech.
Soft skills such as emotional intelligence, communication and empathy will be key in helping current staff members through periods of change, while communicating key ideas clearly when under pressure.
A big picture mindset and an ability to come up with solutions and ideas will be useful in strategy and planning any future adjustments in processes.
With diversity cited as improving staff retention, engagement, and creativity in all workplaces, as well as having a direct impact on the bottom line in countless ways, it’s no surprise that it must be a crucial consideration in all recruitment drives.
But, despite its progressive features, the Fintech sector is still heavily criticised for its lack of diversity. So much so that studies found just 37% of Fintech employees are female and only 19% of these hold C-suite positions.
The Fintech culture, which is built on innovation and disruption, now has a responsibility to lead the way in developing more diversity in recruitment, just as it has driven other changes in the financial sector.
With an increase in demand for more diverse and dynamic skill sets and specialities, as well as a rise in home working due to COVID-19, Fintech HR departments now have a perfect opportunity to really make a difference and create a more socially responsible culture.
But diversity for diversity’s sake must be avoided. Fulfilling quotas should not be a requirement. Instead, companies should look at ways to recruit without bias. Online, automated background screening for example, ensures that all candidates can be assessed fairly and without discrimination.
Without innovation there would be no Fintech, and an ability to continuously generate as well as execute new ideas are key talents to look for in Fintech recruits.
While previously the domain of only dedicated roles, or restricted to the upper ranks of the workforce, innovation is required everywhere in Fintech. Savvy companies are now seeing the value in finding and encouraging originality amongst their current workforce. Who better to make suggestions on improvements to practices and processes than the people who work with them every day?
Google famously encourages its employees to suggest changes which might develop the business in new ways, and imitating this approach is becoming more common across all industries.
The traditional financial sector is also using internal innovations to ensure they stay relevant in Fintech, by catching on to the previously untapped innovation potential of their staff members.
With entrepreneurial skills often seen as a good marker of innovative thinking, companies such as Morgan Stanley now specifically look for entrepreneurial skills in their candidates.
5. Flexibility and Resilience
Don’t discount resilience as just another fashionable buzzword. Fintech frequently requires employees to work under pressure and maintain superior performance despite a changing environment.
The need for resilience has become increasingly clear throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with companies and workers having to think fast and adapt to changing and unpredictable situations. Your business is only as resilient as your workforce, making this a consideration during recruitment is crucial to success.
The ability to work well as part of a team is another skill to lookout for, with teams required to thrive despite a challenging and dynamic business landscape.
Flexibility and resilience allow the previous four talents, as well as other skills, to thrive even when things are on shaky ground and should therefore be near the top of the list of employers priorities.
The Fintech sector is constantly evolving, but company survival and success in an uncertain world is dependent on creative and innovative individuals. Employers can build an enduring workforce by seeking diverse talents and experiences which might not have been obviously attractive to recruiters in the past.
Technical skills such as programming, artificial intelligence and data science are among the more obvious skills required for success in Fintech.
Supporting existing staff through periods of intense change is key to ensuring success in such a dynamic sector. Look for candidates with skills and experience in change management.
Diversity is one of the key areas of importance in recruitment across all sectors and industries. Automating as much of the recruitment process as possible can help ensure diversity and prevent unconscious bias.
Fintech is dependent on innovation; creative and imaginative individuals will help drive new ideas and solutions.
Looking for flexible and resilient candidates will help future proof Fintech companies and ensure that they can continue to operate even in uncertain times.
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While you're at it, read this article about what FinTech can learn from Financial Services when it comes to background screening.
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