Finding skilled workers is the lifeblood of growth for fintech companies but the realities of the world market in 2022 make this more challenging than ever. Promise is abundant in this space that combines financial services with information technology --
the fintech industry is
projected to reach $190 billion by 2026 with a CAG of 13.7% -- but hiring the needed professionals is fraught,as many other industries seek the same skillsets.
According to Deloitte’s Crunch Time series
Finance 2025 revisited, the pace of automation-driven change across the business world is accelerating, creating a fierce war for top talent. This report also notes that the remote work instituted by the pandemic is now here to stay, obliterating the traditional
workplace and encouraging American hiring managers to consider a hybrid approach with employees scattered worldwide. This requires new ways of thinking to exploit this different model of recruiting and working. While working with startups and large organizations
at IDA, we have discovered the following tips for tackling the talent challenge:
1. Look outside your zip code – way out
Deloitte’s report states that a widely dispersed workforce has the upside of access to global talent pools and specialized resources, along with greater use of freelancers and gig workers. In a world that’s easily connected by phones, computers and Zoom,
fintech firms can throw out a much wider net to find the skilled workers they need. Some of these prospective employees will work from home but another option is to establish an overseas operation in a location with a supply of tech talent that is easily connectable
to the mother ship.
For example, Remitly Global, a Seattle-based digital financial services provider for immigrants and their families, is staffing up a new fraud and compliance center in Cork, Ireland, by 120 people to support its recent rapid growth. Collaboration between
companies, government agencies and academia was a major draw.
2. Search out the locations known for tech expertise in key niches
Specific technologies are mentioned frequently when it comes to growth in fintech: AI, blockchain, cloud, data analytics and cybersecurity. Thus it’s logical to seek locales with a better supply of workers in these areas. In cybersecurity, for example,
Comparitech identifies the nations that lead in this field: Japan, France, Canada, Denmark, USA, Ireland, Sweden, UK, Netherlands and Singapore. Thus when American financial services and bank holding company
State Street decided last year to build a 400-strong team dedicated to technology infrastructure and cybersecurity services, the company reported it identified several Irish locations because of the availability of existing and emerging technology talent
from universities and third-level institutions. Another advantage was having a location outside the United States for time-zone support purposes.
3. Pay attention to changing trends that can impact worker movement
Certain locales are known for a
burgeoning supply of tech expertise such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Dublin, Barcelona and Nairobi. But staying abreast of political trends and events is critical for hiring managers seeking a steady talent supply.
Meanwhile, several years after Brexit, the movement of financial services firms from the UK to the EU has stabilized - 41% (90 out of 222) of firms monitored by the
EY Financial Services Brexit Tracker have confirmed at least one location in Europe to which they have moved or are considering moving or adding staff and/or operations. Hiring managers are making note of the main places these companies are setting up shop
(in order): Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam.
4. Seek locales with stable economies and tech investments by the government
In most cases, hiring skilled fintech workers outside the United States will cost less than in many domestic locations but to zero in on some optimal places, a look at GDP growth per capita will enable the selection of stable, thriving locales.
Topping the list in 2022 are Luxembourg, Singapore and Ireland, with the United States coming in fourth place.
Another sign of a good place to hire or locate in is how much a country’s policies are geared toward making companies successful because flourishing locales will attract skilled workers. Look for a country with a track record of supporting foreign companies
locating there via tax credits, R&D funding, government-funded training programs and other activities crucial to success.
5. Look for a critical mass of expertise via the “cluster” concept
A powerful approach to propelling innovation forward that’s common in Europe but not so in America is clusters. A collaboration between companies, government organizations, universities and research centers, clusters usually occur in a geographic area and
participants direct their energies to specific technologies. In the fintech sector, clusters often focus on AI, blockchain, cybersecurity and machine learning but the overall idea is regional ecosystems of related industries and competences featuring a broad
array of inter-industry interdependencies. An economic phenomenon, clusters also create a concentration of skilled workers attracted by the critical mass of aligned entities with a common goal.
As both a fruitful location to set up an overseas operation and as a potent hiring source, fintech clusters should be identified by U.S. hiring managers hoping to tap into this great source of expertise. While there are fintech clusters in many European
countries, some notable examples are found in Zurich, Netherlands, Madrid, Greece, Scotland and the ‘fintech corridor’ that stretches from Dublin to Belfast in Ireland which includes a Fintech & Payments ecosystem. Companies located there, such as Paypal,
Mastercard, Square and Stripe all benefit from close proximity to each other for talent, regulation and Government support.