Blurring Industry Lines In Payments: Recruitment Challenge, Or Opportunity?

23 May 2019 By Alastair Cleland

Headcount Blurring Industry

​When payments is no longer ‘just’ payments - and new entrants include some of the world’s biggest brands - how should payments employers adapt their recruitment to ensure they still thrive?

It hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that the biggest digital and tech companies in the world (Apple, Samsung, Netflix,, Facebook, Google…) are gaining traction in the payments space.

In ecommerce, Amazon are certainly among the payments pioneers, but select retail chains and even transport companies are also leading the way on cutting edge banking and payments capabilities such as lending or contactless wearables. Telcos are also getting in on the action, looking to capitalise on their data rich carrier billing distribution by offering remittance, payment gateway services to take a bigger piece of the payments pie.

The result: a payments industry that looks very different from itself even just 2 years ago, with increasingly blurred boundaries to adjacent sectors.

But it’s not just about the big players, or about new market entrants. So many different things are reshaping the payments industry – legislation and digitisation are leaving traditional players of all sizes searching for their positions in the sector. Many will need to adapt their business models to remain competitive – or even just to survive the shakeup.

Planning and agility have become key, in an environment where tech and retail companies become payments enablers, banks become fintechs (and vice versa), mergers and acquisitions continue to be rife, (and who knows what else around the corner.)

Talent, too, is increasingly moving between industries. New entrants are acquiring professionals from established players, and many individuals are finding their skills well matched to opportunities outside the industry.

Payments companies who can make the most of a challenging recruitment environment will set themselves apart from the pack. For both incoming and incumbent players, though ‘making it’ in this new payments world will demand the full package of skillsets, resources and structure.

Here’s our view on how payments companies can approach this challenge:

01 Skills mapping and talent management

Skills mapping is an extremely beneficial process, especially in a period of change. Evaluating your business to ensure the right skills and resources are in place can help identify gaps and inefficiencies. It is also a good way to ensure you can offer a clear career progression path to help develop and retain your best talent.

02 Defining the new structure

When looking at your business structure, it is important to ask and answer a series of questions: which roles do you need to establish, reshape or eliminate to achieve your business objectives? Do you have the right management layers in place and do the people filling those roles have the right skills and experience to help you take the company forward? How does all this relate to your existing skills map and where are the gaps?

03 Filling the gaps

An understanding of payments is very important. But technology know-how and customer service skills from other sectors can also be extremely valuable. It’s important to assess whether the skills you need can be developed from within, or if you need to recruit externally – and if so, where from. Spreading your net beyond the industry itself and even beyond geographic borders can help encourage more diversity and tap into extended resource pools. A talent mapping process can be a valuable exercise in assessing where to look first.

04 Remaining responsive

The payments industry is evolving fast and the pace is unlikely to slow – in fact quite the opposite. This means that your approach to the above steps needs to be fluid and regular evaluation of skills needs will be essential.

Make sure you know where you can source the right candidates. Continue to review, evolve and adjust your skills map and structure so you don’t remain static while every business around you adapts. This is also important for employee retention, especially as more new, high profile players enter the market from industries that are currently perceived to be more exciting and cutting edge.


Working with a specialist payments recruitment firm can help you to more objectively map and source the right skills to ensure your business remains competitive and ready for growth.


Headcount is in a unique position to help payments companies in today’s evolving industry. We have over 25 years’ experience in the sector, but now, as part of the Pentasia group, we also offer access to an extended global talent pool from relevant, adjacent sectors, supported by expert consultants around the world.

If we can help with your talent review and resourcing needs, get in touch: +44 (0)203 640 2150