Fintech: Bridging The Skills Gap
8 June 2017
This morning, my colleague Dean Durrant and I attended the Bridging The Skills Gap seminar, hosted by FDM. It was an interesting morning, dedicated to sourcing and retaining the very best talent for the Fintech industry in Scotland. This burgeoning sector, which was named in the Innovate Finance / Deloitte Global Fintech Hub review for the first time this year, is seeking to train and re-train different generations of capable talent.
The opening speaker – Colin Halpin, Regional Head of Scotland, HSBC – began by speaking about the existing skills gap and how to plug it. He said companies should be adopting short and long term strategies in order to allow the Fintech market to flourish, as it has so far. Yes, jobs and industries are disappearing but new technologies and innovation create new jobs and wealth.
He stated that 40% of FBS expect difficulty recruiting data, strategy and business change candidates. An incredible 96% will struggle to secure the right technical skills. It’s about re-skilling our existing workforces and attracting exciting new talent from a young age.
Stewart Sharman, Deputy MD of FDM Group, then took to the floor to explain the companies holistic approach to diversity and inclusion within the market. He gave examples of their Ex-Forces and Getting Back Into Business programmes, as well as their graduate schemes. Somewhat surprisingly for a STEM-based firm, 26% of their global workforce is female and 52% of their UK workforce comes from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background. Their talent pool is not limited to a certain background or gender, it’s inclusive and welcoming.
Fiona Ramsay, Head of PBTV and API at Barclays, discussed how Glasgow is seen to be an exciting location for big businesses looking to expand – something our own Commercial Director spoke about in a blog. She discussed Barclays coding programme for children, currently being advertised on TV, and why coding should be taught alongside reading and writing in schools. She said that Fintech couldn’t limit itself to STEM-related talent, and should look further afield, into creative industries and such like, to see which transferable skills would really benefit each department.
One of the more unusual speakers was Kim Wardner of FDM; she once commanded 250 soldiers in Northern Ireland during her illustrious Armed Forces career, now she works within Resilience and Continuity Capability. Her years spent immersed in life gave her the transferrable skills such as being able to work under pressure, adaptability, leadership and making her voice heard. She can initiate change and take a team through that journey.
Some employees who had gone through FDM’s graduate scheme spoke about their experiences of the programme – interestingly, not one of them came from a STEM background. A panel discussion saw many of the speakers insist that hiring managers need to become more open to candidates with a non-Financial Services, non-STEM degree. They agreed that the right attitude and attributes were far more desirable.
Recruitment from different spaces in to the Fintech market will take time – you are not going to change every hiring manager’s attitude overnight. But candidates who are not constrained by ‘big banks’ experience have already proven themselves as flourishing within the market.
If you would like to speak to me about roles within the Fintech market, I would love to discuss my available jobs with you. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to me about recruiting technical and niche candidates, I can discuss your staffing needs confidentially. Click here to see my details.
Written By Neil Greene