How To Plug The Talent Gap In Payments

16 May 2019 By Alastair Cleland


​There is little doubt that, from the inside at least, it’s an exciting time to be working in the payments and fintech sector. The speed of change, new technology developments and the rapid evolution of business models is creating quite a shakeup - and the opportunities from a career perspective are growing in number and variety.

So, the question is, why is there a growing skills shortage? Is it purely because the sector is growing so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up, or is there a more fundamental problem with the industry attracting and retaining the right skills and calibre of employee?

We recently spotted an article in Finextra which cited research from the World Economic Forum: “the talent deficit is driven both by rapid growth of the fintech sector and by a major shift in the types of roles in financial services more broadly. Emerging roles– including data analysts, AI and machine learning specialists, designers, people who work in innovation roles – who currently account for 15% of the financial services workforce, are expected to account for29% of the workforce by 2022.”

Within the article, Omar Ali, partner at EY expresses his view that there “is a real concern over how the industry will source these new skills. Meeting the needs of the sector will undoubtedly require reskilling existing staff and ensuring the industry remains attractive to the best talent.”

We couldn’t agree more! But how do payments businesses go about doing this?

In our view, understanding what the talent gaps are is extremely important, but finding out what attracts the right talent in the first place is critical, as is understanding what motivates those employees to stay within the industry.

We work closely with both clients and candidates to understand the dynamics of what each group are looking for – and to see how we can best match them on an individual level. But more than that, it’s important we work to understand the trends at an industry level – something that will be increasingly vital to monitor over the coming years. As the industry fundamentally shifts in the wake of technology and legislative evolution, the need to attract external candidates from adjacent sectors, as well as fresh talent straight from school or university will grow exponentially.

To this end, we’ve recently launched our Ambitions 2019 survey, which seeks to learn how the big trends in the industry – AI, biometric ID, blockchain, cryptocurrency, open banking – are appealing to individual professionals.

Ambitions 2019 asks payments and fintech specialists to share their ambitions and what motivates and inspires them in their careers. The survey is also designed to discover more about what might be holding them back from achieving the best they can, since these can be factors which affect talent development and retention, not only at a company level, but an industry level too. 

We’re strong believers that individuals’ personal ambition is critical for collective success – and these motivating factors need to be supported by employers if they are to fill their skills gaps.

The Ambitions 2019 survey is open for responses until 30thJune 2019and we look forward to sharing the results in July.