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Top tips for overcoming skill shortages in FinTech

The battle between skill requirements and the number of capable individuals available to meet those needs, has always existed. In many ways this balance has defined the global business economy; continuously pushing us to evolve, adapt and compete. However, this fact is little solace for the thousands of hiring managers across the country in desperate need of skilled people - that are ever becoming few and far between.

In February 2017 Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer commented on the state of the UK FinTech market, stating that;

“The FinTech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors, adding more than £6.6 billion into the UK’s economy and attracting more than £500 million of investment.” [1]

Yet even with this tremendous growth skill deficits are still prominent in FinTech; with talented experts skilled in machine learning (AI), Blockchain, data analysis and cyber-security topping the wish lists of most financial institutions.

 
So in this competitive employment market how can FinTechs overcome skill shortages and prevent a drop in growth and innovation?

 


 

Start by looking at your hiring strategy
 
How realistic are your recruitment expectations? Are you only happy to accept that perfect person with knowledge of every specific programming language you require - or is there room for flexibility?
 
If you’re set on only hiring an exact match candidate, it’s going to be a tough process. Most of the top talent in FinTech are already employed and whilst new graduates are regularly emerging, their levels of practical work experience will be limited. Expect long unfilled vacancy periods, hard competition and higher salary demands from sought-after professionals.
 
In addition, the longer you go without the skills you need the more pressure you have to put on your current staff and the more they feel overwhelmed  - which inadvertently could lead to skills you do have being lost as people leave for more attractive roles with competitors.
 
The alternative is to consider in-perfect job applicants, but with a view to investing in their future development. Whilst this may not provide you with the exact required skills from day one, it does enable you to hire a knowledge hungry individual that can be moulded around your company values and culture.
 
This person may not tick every box, but by putting your trust in them you’re likely to bring on-board new staff that feel driven and excited to be joining your business.

 

Upskill with internal training
 
For most IT professionals, the chance to learn new technologies and languages is highly desirable, with 49% of developers in a recent survey saying they spent at least 2 hours a week coding outside of their normal working hours [2].
 
Offering your employees the tools to better themselves has three effects;
 
  • Firstly, invest in people and they will invest in you. Staff that feel valued and encouraged to develop will become more committed to your organisation, making them less easily swayed by alternative opportunities.
  • Secondly, you can manage and control their education whilst in your employment; ensuring they learn the skills your business needs to your specifications.
  • Thirdly, new hires that don’t have all the core credentials and technical skills you require will feel empowered and enthused by the opportunity to increase their knowledge base, leading to a happier, more engaged workforce.

 

There are various directions this training could take; be that offering IT professionals the chance to work on new projects, training alongside more senior staff or even official qualification. However you chose to action training & development what’s important is that you’re constantly monitoring and driving further education.
 
Looking ahead, if you want to retain the industry's most talented individuals long term you need to demonstrate a clear and accurate path for career progressions within your company - and ensure this direction is actioned. There’s no point in highlighting a promotion in twelve months, that still doesn’t happen 18 months later.
 
Alongside ongoing training, showing an employee that their hard work get rewarded will help to strengthen their trust and connection to your business, helping keep businesses retention rates high.


 

Consider how you find new hires
 
If your search for IT professionals required to plug skill gaps, doesn’t expand beyond a job advert on your website, the occasional job board listing and some posts on LinkedIn, then you are severely limiting your route to talent.
 
Very few people will come to your website specifically looking for vacancies; even fewer will apply with the skills you’re looking for. Generalist job boards may get you CV’s, but it’s likely these will create a large amount of admin for little to no positive result. As for LinkedIn, if you have a strong developed network full of people with the skills you require, you may have a chance - but again, it’s slim pickings.
 
Instead, think about the people you’re trying to entice;
 
  • Where do they go online? | Think about sites like GitHub and Reddit, locations where developers congregate. Look out for interesting conversations on the skills you need, get involved, see who’s talking, take a sideways approach to communication.
  • How do they search for new opportunities? | Many senior IT professionals will work with a hand-picked selection of recruiters who keep them informed of new opportunities. Finding out who these are and working with them closely can gain you access to individuals otherwise considered ‘off the radar’.
  • What common issues do they have which make them want to jump ship? | Are they complaining about them - if so where? Can you get involved with the conversation? Can you reach out with a better alternative...
The advantage of working with a recruiter (such as Caspian One, wink wink) is that we already know the answers to these points, and more. We’re deeply invested in the industry and have spent years developing detailed maps of the players on the field and who they’re involved with. On top of that, each recruiter at Caspian One handles just one set of technologies and is tasked with knowing their market inside-and-out - so when a candidate talks about their experiences in Java or C++ we can confidently talk on their level.
 
You may also want to look offline. Think about the thousands of global coding competitions, hackathons, printed magazine and so-on which people with the skills you need would be drawn to.
 
By going this step further your chances of finding an untapped source of skilled professionals will only grow.


 

Find out more
 
If you would like to learn more about how Caspian One helps financial institutions overcome their skill shortages, email us at fintechcanada@caspianone.com or call our NA/CA FinTech team on +1 (416) 900 1284
 
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[2]https://www.stackoverflowbusiness.com/blog/why-developers-want-to-always-be-learning