Podcasts

Inside the war for fintech talent with untapt’s Ed Donner

  • There are an estimated 120,000 technology positions in financial services and fintech that need to be filled.
  • Candidates and hiring managers are turning to new technologies to help build their teams.

There’s a serious shortfall for technology talent in financial services and fintech. untapt‘s CEO Ed Donner estimates there are 120,000 open roles for technology positions and that’s just in the U.S. alone. Globally, that number rises to around 400,000.

Donner joins us on this week’s installment of the Tradestreaming Podcast as we discuss the war for fintech talent, how top fintech companies build successful teams, and the role for artificial intelligence in matching talent with job openings.

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Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.

Financial services are hungry for technology talent
Hiring is always painful. Hiring technology people is particularly painful. Hiring tech people in fintech is especially acute for two reasons. First, the demand for tech talent in financial services and fintech is insatiable, off the charts. We’ve estimated there are an estimated 120,000 open technology roles in fintech in the U.S. alone. Globally, there are around 400,000 technology positions that need to be filled in our industry.

In addition, fintech also has something of a brand problem with millennial software engineers. They know what it’s like to work at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, but they don’t understand the interesting, exciting problems being worked on in finance. It’s a perfect storm of incredible demand with people going elsewhere and in the middle, you’ve got hiring managers pulling their hair out trying to attract engineers.

What successful firms do to lure top talent
Some of the best approaches to hiring we’ve seen are when companies recognize that hiring is a first-class problem they need to solve and put it at the top of their agenda. People sitting in the C-suite need to focus on bringing in talent. Companies really need to take time to get their brand out there and tell the story of the interesting problems they’re working on. Some hiring managers think narrowly, with preconceived skillsets of what they’re looking for. Successful hiring managers think broadly about the tech talent they’re willing to bring in. It’s the old adage that “A players hire A players”.

Making decisions quickly across the company is also really important. The current market doesn’t support poor communication with candidates. Candidates kept waiting will quickly find a home elsewhere and be taken off the market. Everyone across the company needs to make decisive decisions and communicate well with top technologists.

Fintech job descriptions are a way to stand out
Some of it starts with the job description, with the time you spend to articulate your value proposition to the tech people you’re reaching out to. It needs to be something thoughtful, exciting, and reflects your culture. That’s something Google is very good at and something historically that large financial services firms haven’t really focused on.

Look through tons of jobs descriptions and you’ll find “problem solving skills required”. Great, that tells me a lot. Spend the time and energy to describe what the person will be doing everyday in his new role. Really sell the role to top talent and explain the problems you’re solving. On untapt, hiring managers can record a short video that introduces themselves, their team, and the role they’re hiring for. We find it’s an effective way to make that personal connection and gets your initial message across.

What skills are most in demand in fintech?
Things have been changing recently. There are three areas I’d talk about. The first of which is software engineering. Within  this category, we’re seeing a shift in skillsets to more modern programming languages, like Python and Javascript. Next, we’re seeing an emerging profession around data. The data scientist is becoming the heart of many businesses. There are really two different roles here: the data scientist, who comes from a math and artificial intelligence background who knows how to code and a data engineer, who comes from a computer science background but knows about math and statistics. The two of them typically partner together to build data-centric solutions for financial services.

The third category is really emerging and it is a hybrid digital role. These are roles that roll up to the business and require an understanding of the digital space and knowing how to implement it in the business. These roles are on the rise and I expect to see them more in the future. Traditional front office and business roles will have to have this digital component.

 

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