What financial recruitment can learn from Fintech Executive Search and not the other way round
With the recent explosive growth in the fintech startups in London you’d expect a lot of financial to fintech cross over in terms of executives but it’s not happening nearly as much as you’d expect.
And maybe it’s not the big London Fintech executive search firms that are at fault here. Maybe Finance Recruitment firms are looking in the wrong direction for their future talent pool.
One of the reasons is the London financial recruitment industry is extremely buoyant at the moment and it’s all down largely to one word.
And that word is Brexit.
Why Brexit has been good for the financial recruitment market
Don’t believe everything you read about Brexit being terrible for all aspects of London’s financial markets because for financial recruitment it brings increased churn. And employee and contractor churn is very, very good for financial recruiters. Brexit brings churn in spades because the increased uncertainty and location volatility of financial firms, even if it produces a short or even long term negative impact – and let’s hope not – on overall growth it benefits specialist recruiters who have to fill all those newly vacated seats and find the contractors to cover during the transition phase.
That’s why the financial recruiter desks of major recruitment firms are reportedly enjoying a rum trade.
So you’d expect with financial institutions naturally keen to bring in new highly technical literate talent from the Fintech category crossover should be rampant, but it just isn’t.
A good Quant is hard to find…
“Here. If you have a milkshake.[pauses]. And I have a milkshake. And if I have a straw… My straw reaches acrooooooooooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!” – quote from Daniel Day Lewis in Let there be Blood
One of the reasons talent isn’t crossing over from Fintech to finance right now is that Fintech is just too damn sexy . It’s a similar situation to the age old games developer <> finance quantitative analyst “Quant” conundrum.
The Quant Games Developer conundrum
A talented Quant is of serious value to any financial trading organisation and finding an exceptional one is like all rare commodities either exceptionally hard or exceptionally expensive.
The logical talent acquisition is too profile the key characteristics and experiences that make a good Quant, find a parallel market or niche community where they exist and hire and develop from this untapped pool. And that comparable pool of talent with an identify character profile, educational background and experience is the game developer. But games developers want to work in the games industry and make great world beating games.
And it’s the same with the Fintech talent pool.
Fintech talent wants to work in the fintech world and make a world beating startup.
And that’s why the talent suck is largely a one way street, in Fintech’s direction.
Young developable talent not is much more multi skilled than in the finance industry which has largely been dissected into niche specialisms where employees do a small sliver vertical or horizontal role very, very well.
This type of character who two decades ago would have been attracted to the wild west of the post big bang banks and trading floors is now much more technical and attracted to the shiny glow of the Fintech and Startup world.
This underlined trend sucks the talent that would have partly gone into the banking system and bringing with them new ideas and working practises is now going into the Fintech and startup world.
Why financial recruitment could be looking in the wrong direction
It’s actually not correct that Banks and Startups have incompatible business cultures. In fact, banks were originally the original startups and world disrupters, but that’s for another article. Our point here is that certain layers of the Financial industry and the new Fintech startup ecosystem have very similar competitive stat based working cultures that you’d expect a much larger crossover.
Once of the reasons is however much the financial industry admires the rapid growth in the Fintech category is Fintech harks back to a golden era before mass niche specialism when more multi-faceted skills and techniques where more common in the financial system. Fintech does just this, but with more rapid evolution.
Financial recruitment and the lost bright lights of the city
Back in the day a job in the city gave you full bragging rights down at your local wine bar (read as dated eqv to the gym).
Now all hot young things want to say they work at Facebook or Google but for some reason not so much Amazon…
And in Fintech it will be Transferwise or Monzo. Literally the financial products used by a new generation on a day to day or holiday to holiday basis. Saying you work at Santander however much they pay and provide relative career stability is just not cool.
This is all why financial recruitment should focus on the fintech pool
This is all why it’s not what fintech can learn from financial recruitment and not the other way round. Financial recruitment firms should engage with fintech talent pool to bring in a new set of rainmakers who are used to working in a fast pace environment, just like many parts of the city of course, but have a more rounded understanding of the new demographics, modern design interfaces and customer acquisition funnels and the underlined technologies and platforms.
These skills are highly transferable and will reap benefits for the financial industry particularly as EU de-regulaton compliance brings in a whole new host of competitors with greater customer experience focus and no technical debt to hold them back.
By focussing on hiring out of the Fintech pool instead of the other way round, and working with financial institutions to build propositions and challenges that are attractive to this talent pool, financial recruiters can start bringing in a whole new generation of talent that will hugely benefit the big banks.
And not the other way round…