As fintech goes from strength to strength, job opportunities are sprouting up everywhere. But what are the hottest fintech jobs at the moment? Hays’ Carl Piesse is here to tell us.
The fintech industry has made rapid progress over the past few years as consumers embraced its client-centric, technology-led and innovative approach to personal finance and money management.
The sector’s growth shows no sign of abating. Global VC investment for fintech in the first half of 2017 reached $6.5bn with 787 deals – a 45pc decrease year on year but a 28.4pc increase excluding the three $1bn Chinese mega-deals that took place in 2016.
That’s according to statistics compiled through PitchBook by Innovate Finance, the not-for-profit membership association for global fintech. The financial technology sector is a red-hot area in terms of recruitment. Here are the top jobs in the sector this year.
The apps market has witnessed stellar growth over the past few years with global app downloads and consumer spend hitting record levels in the third quarter of 2017, according to a recent report by apps research firm App Annie. In parallel, demand for personal finance and mobile payment solutions is increasing.
Recent research by Visa in the UK revealed that more than 53pc of people aged between 18 and 34 are regularly using mobile banking apps.
Millennials are also increasingly likely to use the increased ability to quickly and securely make payments on their phone. Visa says more than a third (34pc) made a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital payment via a mobile device and almost three-fifths (59pc) have sent mobile money to family or a friend that way.
Mobile messaging and chatbots are also sought after by the new generation of clients looking for a speedy, convenient and personalised service. For fintech firms, mobile is definitely the way forward.
‘Quants’ are the big brains that write complex financial models. They are behind the data-driven trading programmes used by large investment banks and hedge funds to price and trade securities and analyse risk.
With the rise of big data, quants have become essential in the finance world to create models that can sift through the vast amount of digital information at our disposal and automate them so that trading is increasingly becoming a human-free process.
As The Wall Street Journal recently put it: “The quants run Wall Street now.” They are so much in demand that their annual packages at US investment banks can reach close to half a million dollars.
However, these maths, computing and finance experts are also very much sought after by fintech firms, for which quantum computing is crucial to develop the innovative algorithms of tomorrow.
AI and blockchain experts
Artificial intelligence (AI) and new types of distributed ledgers such as blockchain are the two most disruptive emerging technologies currently in finance.
About 30pc of large institutions in the financial services sector are investing in AI. According to a special report from PwC: “Tomorrow, your bankers or wealth managers will coach you throughout your day to take appropriate financial decisions based on a combination of artificial intelligence and transaction and contextual data.”
Meanwhile, PwC has found that 77pc of financial services firms plan to adopt blockchain as part of an in-production system or process by 2020.
These firms are only playing catch-up, though. Fintech companies have already been offering AI, blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions to the general public for years, amid reports that several key talents at large financial institutions leading the development in those fields have left to start their own ventures.
This may sound like a fuzzy job title but for fintech companies, just like the rest of the tech sector, the ‘cool factor’ is key.
A positive, entrepreneurial and innovative image is paramount to their success and, since employees are the best brand ambassadors, fintechs have to ensure that workers are happy and feeling fulfilled.
Retaining talent is vital because hiring skilled candidates is not only fintech firms’ largest expense, but also key to their future development. The HR champions or culture evangelists who can build up and maintain a diverse, inclusive and inspiring workplace will be sought after, especially as companies in the sector mature and expand, and thus risk losing their start-up spirit.
By Carl Piesse
Carl Piesse is an associate director for financial services at Hays. His responsibilities cover both the operational and strategic aspects required to continue growth within this sector.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.