For established finance services companies, prospective financial analysts are expected to possess problem solving skills, a high level of enthusiasm, the ability to succinctly communicate ideas, the ability to work effectively under pressure and so on. Are these qualities valid also for candidates in Alternative Finance? According to David Jackson, they represent just a part of a broader picture.
David is CEO and Founder of FundX – an Australian marketplace invoice-financing platform – and also a board member of S2M, a technology recruitment company down under. I caught up with him to learn more about how recruitment processes work in the Australian Alternative Finance space, the skills that the many platforms are looking for when hiring and the key differences between this alternative finance and traditional finance in relation to recruitment.
To begin with, David highlighted that Australian platforms are looking for a different set of skills than the traditional banks and financial institutions. Attention to detail, teamwork skills and so on aside, the platforms are especially keen on people with prior experience in the space – possibly gained in the UK and US – with an entrepreneurial spirit, a strong digital background and strong out-of-the-box thinking abilities. In other words, the platforms are looking for employees “with innovation in their blood”.
“The ideal candidates will have had prior P2P or Marketplace lending experience overseas, but they are rare and can often be hard to bring into Australia due to visa restrictions. They also take time to move etc. But the Aussie returners from the UK are a great pool to tap into with our partner in London, Ecom Recruitment, and that’s proven to be a good solution. At S2M we’re looking for candidates who have innovation in their blood, that are driven by being entrepreneurial and want to make significant change.”
Moving onto the recruitment process, David asserted that the way in which FinTech platforms hunt for candidates is absolutely different from the methods used by traditional institutions. “We don’t wait for the candidates to come to us looking for work. Those days are well and truly long gone in the FinTech sector,” said David. The platforms themselves are actively looking for candidates, selling vacancies to the best talents in the market.
“We map the market and select the very best talent across the various skill sets that we know our clients will be looking to hire in the future. These candidates are in high demand, they aren’t easy to find and we must nurture them. It’s all about what they can get out of their next career move, not what the company can get out of them.”
The FundX boss was keen on highlighting that FinTech platforms have the tools and the ability to recruit the best talents He admitted that the platforms cannot generally afford to pay the same sorts of salaries as the well-established banks, but they do offer other perks, such as the promise of growth and on occasion equity incentivisation, the chance to be a part of a disruptive movement, ping pong tables and the like, and an often more youthful and energetic working environment.
Lastly, I asked David about how many new jobs will be created in Alternative Finance in the short-medium term in Australia. Considering that the platforms don’t require vast swathes of people to operate, he expects to see the creation of approximately 10,000/20,000 new jobs over the next couple of years: “There will be a massive growth in terms of new employments.”
If you want to learn more about how to land a job in the rapidly growing alternative finance space, be sure to book one of the few remaining tickets for the AltFi Australasia Summit 2016.