Location Guide: 8 Top Cities For Global FinTech & Payment Careers

13 January 2020

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Fintech is booming – and it’s a global phenomenon. The skills shortage and rapid industry growth have created incredible career opportunities for talented Fintech professionals. The global horizons are wide open…

Global Fintech business is nothing new, but increasing numbers of businesses now have offices in key hotspots around the world. It’s easier than ever for an organisation to aspire to greater localisation and market penetration by running teams in a variety of locations.

This is great news for candidates in the Fintech industry, who value flexibility of location the opportunity to work remotely. In fact, our Ambitions survey earlier this year revealed that over 40% of candidates expressed interest in finding a role which is 100% remote. Our survey also found that many Fintech professionals are seeking new experiences and the opportunity to develop their careers in a completely new location while still using their existing skills.

Technology and travel are opening up the opportunity for Fintech professionals to work anywhere in the world, either remotely or through relocation. So, we thought we would offer some inspiration and ideas for those who are considering working for an overseas company. We’ve picked some of the biggest Fintech hubs in the world to give a flavour of some of the options on the table for ambitious professionals who want to be at the heart of the Fintech revolution.


London: Where Fintech investment reaches new heights

The UK has a become a shining beacon for Fintech in recent years, with London at its core. In 2018, private equity and venture capital funds poured an extra USD 3.3 billion into the sector — 56% of the total value invested in Europe.

Building on the strength and expertise of London’s financial sector, London now boasts seven of the world’s 29 Fintech unicorns, who generated a whopping £177.6 million in combined revenue in 2018 – a 130% increase on the previous year! Fintech is the fastest growing sector in the London economy and job creation in the city leapt 61% last year, making it a city of opportunity for the dedicated Fintech candidate.

Why Live In London?

If it’s a place you’re thinking of moving to, London will not disappoint! It’s one of the world’s foremost cultural destinations; Three of the top ten museums and galleries in the world are in London, plus 857 art galleries, four UNESCO world heritage sites, 300 music venues and world famous shopping streets, not to mention the various palaces of the royal family.

Cost Of Living: 23rd out of 209

Languages Spoken: English and many more

Useful Links: https://www.gov.uk/

Berlin: A strong startup scene

Berlin's economy is growing rapidly, with job and new business creation propelling the city to become the fastest-growing start-up hub in Germany. Those start-ups and companies moving to Berlin, expanding their local headquarters, or seeking to open new markets can tap into the city's extensive investment and innovation funding. In many startups, English is becoming the common language, which makes it easier for non-German speakers to work in the city.

Why Live In Berlin?

Known as the ‘City of Freedom’, Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras, museums and entertainment venues, as well as a strength in sports. The city is also well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts and a high standard of living at a relatively low cost. It is this exciting combination that makes it a very popular city for young professionals.

Cost Of Living: 81th out of 202

Languages Spoken: German and English

Useful Links: https://iclg.com/practice-areas/employment-and-labour-laws-and-regulations/germany


​Amsterdam: Where liberal lifestyles meet innovation

There’s a good reason why Amsterdam is home to the well-known Money2020 Europe conference each year. The event is one of the most prominent on the payments and Fintech calendar and Amsterdam is a fitting place to play host. Aside from being an easily accessible location, the city has an impressive history of financial innovation. Amsterdam was home to the world’s first central bank as well as the first joint-stock company. Today, Amsterdam’s Fintech credentials are undeniable, and it’s one of the leading financial centres in Europe, with around 200,000 people working in the sector.

In addition to the headquarters of major Dutch banks, more than 50 international banks have offices in Amsterdam. The city was also names a European Capital of Innovation in 2016 and supports a successful tech ecosystem, with strong entrepreneurial background – making it ideal for Fintech businesses.

Inside the city:

The unique capital of the Netherlands is packed full of history and famous for its laid-back culture and quirks. Whether you want museums, festivals, theatre, night-life, great food or interesting architecture, Amsterdam has something for everyone. You can visit the historic 17th century buildings, go for a boat tour on the canals, stroll through Vondelpark, or eat in one of several Michelin star restaurants. Amsterdam has the world’s highest museum density and it home to cultural treasures like the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, and Rijksmuseum.​

Cost Of Living: 58th out of 427

Languages Spoken: Dutch and English

Useful Links: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/work/employment-laws-and-benefits

Malta: Island life with growing opportunity

Malta’s job market is thriving, and there are thousands of great job opportunities, with unemployment in Malta among the EU’s lowest. Fintech start-ups are well supported in Malta – they have access to a technology business incubator and an innovation hub. The government is in the process of building a state-of-the-art technology park, and has plans to set up a new blockchain lab and a web portal that will focus on distributed ledger technology and crypto-currencies.

Inside the island:

Malta is well-known for its’ sunny climate, beaches, thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of rich history, including temples, catacombs, palaces, cathedrals and forts are some of the visible evidence left by various cultures through the ages. Malta is renowned as an extremely safe country, with beautiful scenery and a friendly culture. The Mediterranean lifestyle, great weather and excellent job opportunities make it an attractive prospect for any Fintech professional looking for a great work-life balance. ​

Languages Spoken: Maltese and English

Useful Links: https://iclg.com/practice-areas/employment-and-labour-laws-and-regulations/malta


Singapore: The evolving eastern Fintech ecosystem

As one of the most tech-savvy smart cities in the world, Singapore is a growing hotbed for startups and entrepreneurs and a location with endless career prospects.

Fintech companies in Singapore raised a record US$735 million in the first nine months of 2019; a 69% increase on the previous year. While a variety of local startups have begun their global growth in Singapore, several global Fintech companies also have regional headquarters in Singapore and are actively investing in their growth plans for Asia.

Inside the city:

Singapore is one the smallest countries in the world, but it packs a big punch. It’s a melting pot of cultures and businesses, boasts a fantastic night-life best, exemplary records for public safety, warm weather all year round and an array of multi-ethnic street food. Whether you’re an explorer, socialiser, foodie, action-seeker or culture hunter, Singapore is a fascinating place to be.

Cost Of Living: 3rd out of 202

Languages Spoken: English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin Chinese

Useful Links: https://www.guidemesingapore.com/business-guides/managing-business/hr-management/guide-to-singapore-employment-act

Shanghai: Where ancient tradition meets hi-tech life

Shanghai, on China’s central coast, is the country's biggest city and a global financial hub. China has long been a leader in the development of financial innovations including mobile payments, online consumer financial services and digital currencies.

Shanghai has overtaken Bejing as a Fintech stronghold, with 262 Fintech startups now in the city. Shanghai is central to the Chinese government’s aim to “build a financial technology ecosystem with global influence.” Shanghai is also home to a range of promising startups in the wealth management and Big Data industries.

Inside the city:

Lonely Planet describes Shanghai perfectly: “Few cities in the world evoke so much history, excess, glamour, mystique and exotic promise in name alone”. The city is an incredible mix of old and new – a busy metropolis which mixes ancient traditions with some of the most high-tech capabilities in the world. Home to 24 million people, it’s the third most populated city on earth, packed with skyscrapers, futuristic towers, but also, by contrast, has one of the richest collections of Art Deco buildings in the world. Shanghai is also one of China's main travel hubs, making it easy to connect to other cities and countries for the avid explorer or business traveller.

Cost Of Living: 6th out of 202

Languages Spoken: Mandarin and Shanghainese


​New York: The 24:7 powerhouse

The ‘Big Apple’ is a big deal when it comes to technology innovation - it’s arguably the most powerful city in finance. Inspired by veteran companies and receiving mentorship from programmes such as the city’s Fintech Innovation Lab, Fintech startups in New York are having a big impact on the industry.

Close proximity to one of the most important stock markets in the world makes New York a perfect place for Fintech companies who can access a mix of entrepreneurs, investors and finance experts.

Inside the city:

New York is iconic; the setting for a multitude of movies, as well as being a leader in fashion trends, a dining and shopping capital and an epicentre of the arts. Catch a Broadway show, go hiking in the mountains, view the famous Manhattan skyline from a skyscraper, or go deep-sea fishing off the shores of Long Island – there’s always something to do, around the ‘city that never sleeps’.

Cost Of Living: 9th out of 202

Languages Spoken: English and many others

San Francisco: The bay-side bigtech giant

San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas have formed what we know as Silicon Valley, the world’s premier hub for innovation and startups spanning a number of industries. San Francisco hosts the headquarters of five major banking institutions and is home to nine of the world’s Fintech unicorns. The city has also graced the number one spot — for the third year in a row — in AT Kearney’s Global Cities Report ranking the top 135 cities based on global standing and projected influence. With strong involvement from top notch universities and investors too, the Fintech sector in San Francisco has certainly earnt it’s place as one of the strongest, most significant Fintech hubs in the world.

Inside the city:

A popular tourist destination, San Francisco is known for its cool summers, world famous museums, amazing local art, eclectic mix of architecture and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. The city, and the surrounding Bay Area, is a global centre of the sciences and arts, home to a number of educational and cultural institutions and is well-known for its trend-setting food. In 2019, San Francisco was the highest rated American city on world livability rankings. With the beautiful bay-side location, almost boundless outdoor adventures on tap and more coffee shops than any other city in the US, San Francisco offers a great combination of relaxed lifestyle and exciting career prospects.

Cost Of Living: 16th out of 202

Languages Spoken: English and many others.

If you’re thinking of a move with fresh new horizons and exciting prospects for your Fintech career, Headcount’s recruitment experts can help. As specialists in payments and Fintech, our global team of consultants can give you valuable insight on the top industry career opportunities around the world; helping you find your dream job, in a dream location.