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Guest blog with Gemma Livermore

Founder Women of Fintech, International FS Marketing Lead at Seismic

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Over the last few years Fintech, like many other areas of technology, has been on a rollercoaster ride.  As outlined in the McKinsey Report – ‘Fintechs: - a new paradigm of growth’ it is a sector that has grown from almost obscurity a decade ago, into one that, as of July 2023, represented a market capitalisation of $550 billion. This is a 200% increase on 2019, demonstrating that, despite the wave of well-publicised layoffs during 2022 and earlier this year, following the burst of the so-called ‘COVID Tech Bubble’, Fintech growth remains strong. In fact, McKinsey’s research estimates that the sector will grow 3 times faster over the next 5 years, than the traditional banking sector.

With that level of predicted growth, alongside a sector that focuses on emerging technologies, it is clear Fintech is going nowhere and will continue to need talented individuals to drive innovation. A recent global Working in Fintech report, investigated where fintech employees come from. They found nearly half came from a traditional banking background, almost a third from the tech sector, with the rest coming from a variety of careers.  

EY recently stated that Gen Z talent would make or break the future of banking. Regardless of generation, whether working in banking, tech or in a completely different sector, what makes fintech an attractive career proposition? 

To answer that question, we spoke to Gemma Livermore, founder Women of Fintech, International FS Marketing Lead at Seismic, one of Fintech’s ‘Most Influential Women’ and widely considered an industry influencer; to gather her thoughts on why someone would consider a career move into the sector.

Fintech talent shortages and opportunities

The first thing that I would say about why someone would consider a career in Fintech is the number of opportunities it presents.  The truth is that whilst growth has definitely slowed, this was surely to be expected given the craziness of the post COVID tech bubble.  It is more a case of the Fintech sector settling down and maturing and with maturity comes stability, which presents many opportunities. Despite all the recent news, there is a talent shortage in the sector, and this will continue to be a problem. There was an article the other week in the Fintech Magazine reporting that the skills gap has worsened due to factors like the great resignation and that London has taken over New York and San Francisco as the Fintech capital for investment - these factors only increase talent demand.

Of course, by its very nature it is a fast-paced industry which attracts many start-ups and along with start-ups can come risk, but as one door closes another opens and the experience and skills you gain will continue to create further opportunities as you move through your career. This is my own experience of the sector.  Having started my Fintech career with a specialist Fintech recruitment company, I’ve had the opportunity to help drive innovation in several organisations in roles such as Head of Marketing and Chief Growth Officer, as well as running and founding my own not for profit, Women of FinTech to drive gender diversity in the industry.  There are so many opportunities for those that want to work hard and take them.

Exposure to innovation and leading-edge technology

Whilst there are many career opportunities to be had, there are also huge opportunities to gain exposure to leading edge technologies and the latest innovations when working in Fintech.  For a lot of technology individuals this is the No1 reason they want to work in the industry.  

Fintech is a disrupter; it’s disrupting the traditional banking sector through technology innovations.  Companies must follow an agile and responsive approach to survive, stay ahead of the competition and continue scaling, whilst at the same time ensuring compliance with growing financial regulations. This provides varied and interesting opportunities.

Leaders tend to be inspiring individuals, able to think outside of the box, with the capacity to explore new ways of thinking and working.  This presents individuals with a chance to learn from inspiring entrepreneurial people and be key contributors to future success.  The chance to be an integral part of a growing company at its earlier stage, with all the career and growth opportunities that come with it. 

It's fair to say that with the pace of change and need for experimentation and flexibility, that this is not a career choice for those who want to stay in their comfort zones.  However, for those who love excitement, innovation and who are interested in being at the forefront of technology like; AI, Crypto, Digital Currencies, Embedded Finance, Data, Blockchain; it is a dream career. 

A genuine desire for diversity and inclusion

Emerging from two of the industries with the lowest female representation, banking and technology, Fintech has struggled with diversity, particularly in terms of gender.  Whilst some of the struggles are down to the continuing lack of girls developing STEM skills during education, there is a wider issue. 

In the 2022 report from EY and Innovate Finance, research revealed that females make up only 28% of those working in the industry, female founders 17% and board members a mere 10%. Yet data shared at some of the events we’ve held for Women of Fintech, shows that, despite a lower level of financial investment, female-led companies often have a better ROI than those led solely by males. 

And it’s not just about gender, it’s also about the broader diversity picture. For example, ethnic diversity statistics paint a similar picture, only accounting for around 20% of people in 2020.  And whilst some of the industry’s digital innovations are being lauded for supporting those with disabilities; as with the wider community, the industry is still lacking in community representation. 

So, why list diversity and inclusion in my reasons to join Fintech?  Whilst Fintech still has a long way to go, I have seen a genuine desire to embrace it across all forms.  The industry recognises that the innovation it seeks relies on workforce diversity to drive solutions and ideas. One Women of Fintech event saw a panel discussing the trials of one digital banks’ struggle to find a solution to a problem, until they recognised those working on it were very similar types of people; the same demographic with the same educational background. The problem only got solved when they brought different people from different backgrounds, who viewed things from a diverse perspectives.

It is this recognition of the benefits of diversity, alongside the fact that Fintech is a forward-thinking industry that wants to push traditions and restrictive boundaries, that fuels the desire to change things.

The fact of the matter is, Fintech future innovation relies on workforce diversity to drive solutions and ideas, and it knows it. I’ve met so many in the industry focused on driving change and supporting others. This opens up opportunities for a wide range of people to get involved in shaping FinTech’s future and inspire future generations to do so.

Need help finding a career in Fintech?

If you are currently working in Fintech, considering a move into the industry or would like to find out more about current opportunities in the sector then you can browse our technology jobs here. Alternatively, upload your CVand we will be able to match your skills with the right opportunities.

About the author - Gemma Livermore

As founder of Women in Fintech Gemma has spent the last 6 years growing the not-for-profit into an award-winning community with over 4,000 members and a global audience of over 14,000.  Named this year as one of the Most Influential People in Fintech, Women to Watch in Fintech, Europe’s 16 Most Influential Female Fintech Marketers and 30 Most Influential Fintech Marketers; Gemma is considered a Fintech thought leader, passionate about her industry and building supportive communities.  Having held marketing and strategic growth positions for several Fintech start-ups, she is currently International FS Marketing Lead for Seismic. In her spare time, she is a main carer to four school-age children and enjoys spending time with her partner Claire. You can connect with her on Linkedin here.

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