Salaries in the fintech and payments industry held up well despite turbulent conditions last year, seeing a decrease of only 1%, according to research by recruitment consultancy Headcount.
While the ongoing uncertain environment will mean that any growth in salaries is likely to be modest at best for the foreseeable future, certain areas will see more substantial increases due to talent shortages.
“Big earners in 2021 will be found particularly in product, commercial and tech departments,” the ‘Fintech and Payments Salary Survey 2021’ says.
“The impressive pay packets already on offer in these areas are a reflection of both the value these individuals contribute, as well as current market scarcity.”
C-level roles in product, commercial and tech departments are naturally seeing substantial increases, but so are more entry and mid-level positions. Headcount sees the salary for an account manager, for example, rising from £30,000 to £75,000.
In the tech areas meanwhile, cross-industry digitisation is in high demand intensifying competition across the industry. For this reason, Headcount projects the salary for a DevOps specialist to surge from around £45,000 to £85,000.
What these figures highlight is the continued high demand for certain specialisms in comparatively short supply. While other areas of the economy are likely to remain depressed for the much of this coming year at least, the digital transformation that fintech and payments companies enable will accelerate allowing even greater earning potential for those with the ability to help deliver this for financial institutions and merchants.
As the expected standard of candidate increases, the talent pool shrinks, making it harder to identify and secure the right people.
This presents the challenge for employers of attracting this talent. The report claims that the most talented targets for these roles will require a 20% salary increase to be sufficiently enticed to change companies.
Therefore, employers should look at what factors other than money can appeal to the strongest candidates. Headcount lists three factors alongside compensation as the top reasons for accepting a new role: the company, the job and the people.
They can “hire well above their salary weight”, according to the report by accentuating other attractive factors about the role, which in 2021 will he heavily weighted to clear working from home arrangements.
The fintech and payments industries were well equipped to adapt to universal working from home last year given their digital-first, cloud-native infrastructures. This paired with the lifestyles and preferences of their typical employees mean this could well remain the norm for the foreseeable future.
However, there are questions about sustainable this is in the long term.
According to the report, 60% of employers interviewed candidates remotely, but at the cost of lengthier and slower processes, with the experience of a face-to-face interview hard to properly replicate digitally, due to difficulties on both sides judging personality and character.
Among existing employees, while productivity rates remained strong during lockdown, employers were keen to get employees back into the office as soon as they were allowed to do so.
Now that employees have grown accustomed to working from home regularly, they will almost certainly expect a minimum level of home working.
Therefore, it seems likely that companies will set “expectations for ‘working from home, within reach of an office’,” according to Headcount.