A recent Census of UK fintech firms by EY and Innovate Finance has found that despite attracting rising levels of investment, major challenges lie ahead in talent recruitment and gender diversity.
Based on a study of over 224 fintech companies, the census reveals that the average total investment raised by UK fintechs has increased by 33% in the last two years. It also highlighted that, in their next funding round, UK fintech firms are expected to raise a total of £2.6bn, with many looking to expand internationally.
Despite this impressive trajectory, finding the right skills and talent to power this growth remains a key issue for the industry – with over half (53%) of firms reporting recruiting suitable talent as a major challenge. The report revealed that the top in-demand skills – and the hardest to find - for the industry this year include software engineering, system architecture and development (ranked first by 52% of firms). It is no surprise to find the next most in-demand skillset (and equally difficult to source) is data analytics and data science skills (ranked top by 19% of firms).
Many UK fintechs are looking to address this skills shortage through local initiatives and outreach, with “a number of larger fintechs also looking further afield. Europe and Asia are the two most important regions, according to the Census results, with Asia overtaking North America as the second most popular region since the 2017 Census”.
The research from EY and Innovate Finance also highlighted the ongoing issue of gender diversity, The gender split of the UK fintech sector’s employee base is currently 70.5% male and 29.5% female – figures which have remained fairly static since 2017. The 2019 Census also showed that only 25% of fintechs have at least one female co-founder.
The issues of talent shortages and diversity are undoubtedly related and, as we highlighted in our recent blog, proactively improving workforce diversity can itself help with closing the skills gap. By reaching out to a broader range of candidates, businesses can better fill their structures with the right mix of talent. It can also help attract and retain talent by demonstrating an open and inclusive business culture.
Of course, it is not just a diversity issue that is causing the shortfall in talent. Our industry is evolving at a rapid pace and the boost in new technology, changing customer relationships, new legislation and a raft of other factors are driving the need for different skills and resources to support industry growth.
We recently published our view on the industry skills shortage in our payments talent report, which offers first-hand insight and advice from our expert payments industry recruitment consultants. Among the advice for employers includes tapping into overseas talent pools and resource opportunities, taking a more flexible approach to role assignment and the value in keeping up with industry trends.
If you’d like to read more about the most in-demand skills in payments and fintech – as well as how you can fill those skills gaps, download our insight report here