Fintechs go to war for talent

It seems that a war for talent is brewing in London, as reported by Sifted. Not any kind of talent, tech talent. And this is not only happening in London, it is also the case in other Fintech hubs like Singapore or Amsterdam. Why would fintechs go to war for talent? We already know that software engineers and software developers are high in demand in banks and fintech startups. Because fintech is more “tech” than it is “fin”, it makes sense that startups are in need of talent to develop their solutions.

How do you attract talent?

In places like London, where you have many fintech startups and big scale-ups like Monzo or Revolut, competition is tough to attract the best people. Not even sure that scale-ups is the right term for billion-dollar companies. Furthermore, this is compounded by the fact that fintech companies need to compete with established tech companies like Facebook or Google.

So how do you do to attract talent? The first and obvious option, you can try to pay more than the competition. But if you are just starting and have not raised millions (yet), you cannot do that. Which brings us to the second option: have a great project. Get people the sense that by joining your company, they are really going to disrupt financial services.

You will always have a few mercenaries only motivated by the paycheck, but most people want to do something interesting. Especially more if you are in high demand like a software developer.

How do we go from war to peace?

In the case of London, it is not impossible that the fintechs going to war for talent will get worse with Brexit. Particularly given the high proportion of foreign tech talent in fintech startups at the moment. You can balance that on the long-run with home-grown talent, but it takes years (5-10 years) to see the results of education policy. Fintech startups need talent now.

The current crisis due to the Covid-19 outbreak could also have an impact on this global war on talent. It could be negative, if it changes the way people move between countries to find jobs. But it most probably will be positive, as companies realise that they can still very well function with distributed teams. A handful of big software companies like Automattic or Gitlab have had distributed teams for years.

So why not Fintechs? Instead of competing for the same talent in one physical place like London, you could hire coders from other countries. That could be the way to find peace…