Fintech growth spurs 'exceptional' 182% increase in tech roles

A new report from recruitment firm Robert Walters offers a snapshot of tech talent mobility in eight major hubs. As Covid-19 restrictions lift, 'significant migration of talent' is likely.

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The global fintech sector has seen an exceptional +182% increase in tech job growth for the first quarter of 2022 – with the top 8 fintech ‘mega-hubs’ accounting for over 90% of all new fintech jobs advertised around the globe. The findings – from recruitment firm Robert Walters’ Global Fintech Talent Report – highlights how the fintech industry is one of the fastest growing sectors post-pandemic, outperforming the wider market by three. However, the recruiter believes the sector will face major hurdles this year “as an acute tech talent shortage around the globe threatens to halt the fintech growth machine”.  The warning comes as the British Chambers of Commerce is asking the government to issue temporary visas as the UK tech sector's trade body, techUK, reports the industry is currently recording 100,000 vacancies every month.It also comes as the conversation deepens around the role of international remote working in the global mobility and international HR space. According to KPMG,  employers in the Telecommunications and Technology sector are leading the adoption of remote working globally, with 64% of companies having moved to the implementation stage against the all-sector average of 37%. 
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Talent fuelling growth

“The forecast for organisations working in the global fintech market is a very positive one, however, their growth will be dependent on their ability to recruit and retain the right tech talent,” said Toby Fowlston, CEO of Robert Walters.“The most advanced economies have long established that they cannot be ‘good at everything’ and instead have focussed their efforts in becoming specialists in a few core areas. “For example – you have Germany for engineering, China for manufacturing, and the UK for banking. But no country quite has a dominance over technology and given the remote and mobile nature of the tech industry it seems that all major economies are competing for a slice of the fintech pie. “Whilst the outcome of competition means heightened innovation and consumer choice, from a talent perspective this creates a challenge and as the adoption of fintech products continues to grow at an exceptional rate the concern is whether there is enough of the right tech talent to keep up with the growth.”

UK as key talent hub

The Robert Walters’ Global Fintech Talent Report considers various factors across geographies impacting talent attraction including skills in demand, retention levels, gender diversity, salary and venture capital (VC) investment.The UK is behind only the USA when it comes to fintech funding – attracting $4bn in the past year, on par with tech giants China and Japan. With almost just as many active fintech firms as the USA – over 1,500 – London continues to be an attractive home for fintech HQs, with surrounding areas such as Manchester - currently hosting its eponymous tech week - and Birmingham proving to be attractive locations for satellite offices.  Vacancies have grown year-on-year within fintech (+136%), with the UK fintech hiring predominately at the senior-end of the market to accommodate the fast-scaling nature of the market. “Exit strategies for UK fintechs are front of mind and so it is not uncommon for professionals to move on to another role within 1.5 years once they have seen through one major growth cycle or investment round,” comments Toby Fowston.

Fintech job growth round the world

The USA has seen the biggest jump in new tech jobs within fintech with a 223% increase across the board. The majority of this growth is in New York (246%) and San Francisco (200%). Japan has seen the second-highest growth (+214%). Blockchain technology represents almost a third of all fintech companies in the country as cryptocurrencies transactions continue to grow (+51%). “Technology professionals is one of the most mobile talent communities in the world, and they naturally draw towards hubs or hives of activity where their skillset will continue to be in-demand and paid well,” says Toby Fowston. “Now that travel and entry restrictions around the globe are fast disappearing it won’t be surprising to see a significant migration of talent toward the eight fintech hubs.”

Top 8 fintech ‘mega-hubs’ ranked by job growth 

VC investmentNo. Fintech FirmsJob Vacancy Growth

The fintech skills most in demand 

According to the report, the most in-demand fintech role globally is software engineering and development. It accounts for a third of all job roles advertised by fintechs. With San Francisco (40%), New York (33%), and Singapore (33%) all hiring en-masse for developers, we will see the emergence of fintech-as-a-service, hybrid cloud platforms, embedded finance, as well as a hyper-focus on customer experience. “The increasing digitalisation of all sectors has meant that software development is in demand across almost any industry. With the technology behind fintech advancing at astronomical levels, the high level of specialism needed from developers is certainly being reflected in inflated salaries,” comments Toby Fowston. 

Falling behind on diversity

However, less than a quarter of the global fintech talent is female. This, says the recruiter, is in stark contrast to the growing representation of female professionals in technology and financial services, which now stands at over a third. San Francisco's fintechs appear to have the most gender diverse teams – with 28% female representation.   “It makes little sense why the representation of women within fintech is so low – in particular considering the difficulty in finding candidates,” says Toby Fowston. “Fast-growing start-ups need to look beyond ‘quirky’ soft perks and consider adding more meaningful benefits that may attract female professionals.” Survey findings from Robert Walters has found that females are more likely to assess company and job security, diversity policies, and enhanced maternity packages before applying for a job.

Gender split of fintech talent - by country

San Francisco 28%72%
New York 25%75%

Retention rates 

According to Robert Walters analysts, fintech firms should try to aim to keep employees for at least 18 months to two years, if they are to get maximum potential while keeping a channel open for fresh people and ideas. Currently just New York, Netherlands and San Francisco are able to retain their employees on average for longer than 18 months, with fintech start-ups in other countries failing to keep new hires engaged for long enough. Toby Fowston comments: “Excessive turnover drives up costs and diverts time and attention from the goals of a fast-growing start-up. For fintechs that are more established, high turnover of staff can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and hinder efforts to foster a workplace culture. “Fortunately, most of the drivers behind employee turnover are preventable and fixable. Steps to reduce turnover include rethinking recruiting strategies, enhancing career advancement opportunities and providing more training and development offerings.”

Average tenure in fintech

New York2.0 yrs
Netherlands2.0 yrs
San Francisco 1.8 yrs
Spain1.7 yrs
Japan1.7 yrs
Australia1.5 yrs
UK1.4 yrs
Singapore1.3 yrs
China0.8 yrs

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