As the financial needs of businesses and individuals have changed over the last number of years, the fintech sector has gone from strength to strength. But how has that affected recruitment? Hays Ireland takes a look.
As recruiters for the largest investment and retail banks in Ireland, and a number of disruptive SMEs, we at Hays have experienced the rise of fintech in the IT sector first-hand.
The notion of fintech is much like that of big data. Many are still unsure as to what it is, how it works, and how it is changing the recruitment marketplace. One thing is for certain – every traditional financial company wants to be involved. A fear of being left behind and becoming irrelevant is common across financial services organisations.
Due to the numerous changes to how consumers (both businesses and individuals) conduct their day-to-day financial transactions, financial services organisations are faced with a number of challenges. SMEs are now using disruptive technology and innovation to change how these financial transactions occur.
In March 2015, Minister Simon Harris announced the ‘Vision and Targets for International Financial Services (IFS) 2020’, which looks at the creation of 10,000 additional fintech jobs between 2015 and 2020. Collaboration between financial services and IT sectors is key to achieving this goal.
Established financial services companies are understandably cautious when it comes to fintech. Their legacy structures restrict agility, and recruitment budgets also pose a challenge. Nonetheless, traditional financial services organisations have to manage this transition.
We have seen a significant increase in the number of fintech vacancies in recent months. Fintech organisations emphasise innovation by hiring those professionals who can demonstrate adaptability and creativity. Innovation lab departments are expanding and professionals with unique skills in financial services, digital currency and cybersecurity (bitcoin, for example) are in high demand. Experience with very specific software packages is also valued.
An almost catch-22 situation occurs in fintech recruitment. There is a lack of skilled professionals in the Irish marketplace, yet it is difficult to gain this experience without any prior background in it. From a recruiter’s perspective, organisations – when recruiting for fintech roles, such as analyst, project manager or software developer – are looking for professionals who are not so embedded in the traditional ways of IT.
Fintech is a buoyant new market. Are the candidates ready to move at the same pace? The skills and competence base that employers are looking for is constantly evolving. Those professionals who can clearly demonstrate – preferably with completed and successful projects – their ability to try out new technology, learn quickly and deliver results in tight deadlines are most sought-after.
Expertise in coding and managing traditional IT projects is often not enough. However, there are soft skills, such as curiosity and a desire to challenge the status quo, that can sometimes compensate for lack of experience. Fintech requires individuals who are flexible in their work practices and adaptable to innovative ideas, and who can work in a fast-paced and challenging environment.
At entry-level, organisations are running training sessions and workshops for those people who are interested in joining the industry. Internships and career change programmes are aimed at decreasing organisations’ reliance on external resources.
The competition in fintech is fierce and the industry requires a new calibre of candidates who can demonstrate relevant experience, as well as the soft skills that will fuel this thriving market further.
Jasaon Kelly is a senior business manager at Hays IT.
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