A revolution in work practices is opening up a wealth of new talent for UK fintech, writes Richard Arundel, co-founder and Chief Evangelist at Currencycloud.
Pointing out the dramatic changes to the world of work has become clichéd. But something that is under-discussed in the UK Fintech sector is just how far ahead of the curve it was long before the pandemic.
This experience not only means Fintech companies are often free of the presenteeism found in corporate offices of yesteryear, but they also have remote work ‘figured out’ better than most.
With many people reconsidering their career paths in the aftermath of the pandemic, now is the time for the UK Fintech sector to take its shot and become the primary talent destination for years to come.
Thinking beyond the capital
London has long been a thriving tech hub, but the cost of renting and living in the city and its suburbs have deterred talented individuals – both from other parts of the UK or abroad – from making the move. New visa options for Fintechs, as recommended by the Kalifa Review, would give those with the right skills automatic qualification to work in the UK and make our sector far more competitive for international talent.
The fact that remote working is now mainstream makes London an even more persuasive offering. If the best people can come to the UK to work in Fintech but live further away from London, our sector will be more appealing to talent than ever before: we’ll be able to offer a fantastic quality of life without London prices.
That said, although the new visa rules are advantageous, talent doesn't need to come to the UK if they want to work for a UK-based Fintech. Many companies are now hiring talent from across the globe and working remote-first. Companies will also become more open to hiring domestic candidates from around the UK. As part of this, employees could be tied to a particular office, for example, a London hub, but it will be up to them and their manager to decide how often they’ll need to be there and what their schedule looks like. For many, living in Edinburgh and paying for a few flights down to London every quarter might be preferable to living in the southeast of England and commuting. We've opened up a world of choice.
The talent effect
Attracting the best talent – wherever it’s based – is crucial if UK Fintechs are to continue to thrive and meet their growth potential. If you have the four best sprinters in the world running the 4x100m relay, you’re probably going to break some records.
That plays out across an organisation – having the smartest minds working on problems and delivering better products more quickly into the hands of customers is good for everyone. Many companies are under pressure from consumers to keep rolling out new services and products at a pace to meet growing expectations – and quality headcount can have a big impact on their ability to do that.
These trends should also make Fintechs more diverse in terms of the backgrounds and experiences that teams can bring to problem-solving and product development. And this could be transformative for companies looking to move into new territory – it should be easier than ever to bring in new
hires who live and breathe that market and, over time, a company will become more global in the way it thinks and operates.
Culture and organisational health
Of course, hiring the best talent is only the beginning. To get the best of these people both as individuals but, more importantly, as part of the teams in which they operate, companies need to ensure they invest in and develop their culture and the health of their organisation. Patrick Lencioni writes passionately about this topic and he’s right! As Fintech’s now have access to and begin to embrace a globally distributed, remote workforce, minimising politics and confusion and creating and over-communicating clarity are now more important than ever.
UK Fintech companies have two great opportunities here. The first is to become the destination of choice for the best talent around the world.
Perhaps more importantly, though, Fintech has an opportunity to set an example for other sectors looking to adapt to post-Covid transformations, showing that remote working can be embraced and drive growth while keeping talented people happy.
The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of AltFi.