By PratapG, Chief Experience Officer, InstaReM
While FinTech has spawned a plethora of new career opportunities, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the FinTech disruptors to find suitable candidates who can keep pace with the personnel demand and growth rate of the industry. Investments in FinTech have been increasing globally at a steady pace with the industry receiving USD 17.4 billion in investment in 2016 and a whopping USD 31 billion in the following year. With the industry projected to grow exponentially in the forthcoming years, talented FinTech professionals will quickly be snapped up for their unique skills and capabilities.
Among suitable candidates are individuals involved in blockchain, cybersecurity, software, mobile application development, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning. The level of proficiency in the above has given rise to a new set of roles that are seeing high levels of attrition, given the high demand-low supply equation.
1. Data Scientists
In the FinTech industry, data scientists are needed for applications such as fraud detection, risk management, compliance, customer segmentation, targeting, and personalization. While data gathering could be a junior-level task, at the mid-level, a data scientist may be responsible for building Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and tools to automate or streamline processes within a company. At a senior-level, data experts such as scientists, analysts and managers are required to mine and organize the data, extract greater insights into markets and provide recommendations for new products and services or maybe a new marketing strategy – to increase market share.
Qualified candidates would have done courses that provide them with skills and knowledge of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning, data science toolkits like R, Python, Weka, NumPy, MatLab along with data visualisation tools such as D3.js, ggplot and proficiency in using query languages like SQL, Hive and Pig. They should also be familiar with NoSQL databases like MongoDB, Cassandra, HBase along with applied statistics skills in distributions, statistical testing and regression analysis. In order to be a data scientist, one must earn a bachelor’s degree in IT, computer science, math, physics, or another related field. A master’s degree in a data-related field is always considered to be of great value as well.
2. Cyber-security Specialists
As FinTechs are entirely dependent on the Internet and cellular networks for their operations and revenues, they are also extremely vulnerable to malicious threats from cybercriminals. Online thieves and hackers always sneak in where the money is. Hiring candidates for the cybersecurity roles is particularly challenging, with NASSCOM estimating that India alone will need 1 million cybersecurity professionals by the year 2020 to meet the growing demand of the industry.
Skills needed include incident investigation and response-ability, governance, risk management and compliance (GRC), digital communication technologies, encryption methods and analytical skills. Such candidates must be trained in security operations management, virtualisation, data administration and management, communication skills and platform/technology-specific skills. While there are plenty of bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity, it is also possible to enter the field with a four-year degree in a related field such as computer science, computer engineering or even mathematics.
Related Article: Cybersecurity in FinTech
3. Financial Analysts
On the business side, as FinTech start-ups continue to grow, so will the demand for financial analysts who can plan and manage budgets and cash flows, assemble financial reports and make forecasts about future revenues and market trends. For some firms, they may also provide advisory inputs on capital-raising and investor-related areas such as equity/debt issuance, stock-splits etc.
Skills in finance, mathematics, statistics, economics and accounting are usually the basic requirements if one seeks to pursue a career in this field; and hence courses such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Finance, Mathematics, Statistics, Economics or Accounting is usually recommended as the basic requirement. A course providing the title of a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) is known to be one of the most desirable while seeking to acquire a job in this field.
4. Risk Control Managers
Given that the FinTech industry is highly regulated, and license-heavy, it is vulnerable to risks pertaining to exposure, investments as well as that of legal compliance. Analysing risks to the business, mitigating their effects and preventing their occurrence in the future in order to strategically support the firm in achieving its overall business objectives is the primary responsibility of risk control specialists.
Skills required in this field may include economic analysis, compliance management, stress-testing, portfolio management, capital management, risk culture development, risk appetite assessment, risk data analysis etc; with senior-level professionals also required to be proficient in risk-adjusted pricing, AML (anti-money laundering), KYC (know your customer), financial crime and business model analysis and client relationship management. One of the most common ways to become a Risk Management Analyst is to pursue a college bachelor’s degree in finance or a finance-related degree, such as statistics or risk management. A 4-year degree in economics or business administration may also be suitable for this job profile.
5. Culture Champions
For FinTech firms, a positive, innovative and entrepreneurial image is an important aspect for success as their employees are the best ambassadors of their brand. Like any business, FinTechs also must ensure all workers are happy, fulfilled and retained. Sustaining good talent is so important because hiring the most skilled candidates is not only the biggest expense of the FinTech industry, but is also vital to future development. HR champions and culture evangelists and employee experience champions who can build and maintain diverse workplace environments are hence in great demand.
To be a culture champion and lead the workforce towards higher performance levels is not easy. The best culture champions are trusted influencers, natural leaders and are skilled in coaching and developing others. They must fit within the realm of the four big C’s of Culture Champions that includes conviction, courage, clarity and consistency. In order to be a culture champion, one must acquire soft skills in order to instil confidence in others, make changes, act with integrity, inspire others, remove obstacles, help build trusted relationships, follow through on commitments along with the required skills and knowledge to tackle the task at hand.