Attracting and retaining the best people is a major success factor for fintechs and, as such, it is one of the main challenges for the management team. It is acknowledged as being a hyper-competitive market in which to secure the right people – both those who are working in the country now or those from other regions.
Extensive work conducted on the international fintech scene by EY showed that, overall, Australia ranked fifth of the seven locations covered. The assessment factored in both talent availability and the talent pipeline. The latter also includes a long term perspective in terms of education policy and the future candidate market.
The challenges identified in that report were underlined when we engaged with fintechs based in Australia in this research. A number of key themes emerged...
Limited pool in Australia... Half of fintech (52%) leaders agree that there is a lack of experienced start-up and fintech talent in Australia. Attracting suitable or qualified talent is one of the top internal challenges that they face.
Specific profiles more challenging... Of those fintechs that struggle to attract qualified or suitable talent, the majority struggle with finding engineering/software expertise (61%), followed by sales (41%) and web development (33%). This year fintechs are finding it less challenging to attract design/user experience talent (42% down to 24%). However, as the industry has matured, talent pool shortages are marginally more evident for sales professionals (35% up to 41%) and marketing professionals (24% up to 29%).
Diversity a challenge... The profile of fintechs operating in Australia shows a marked gender imbalance, with 76% of employees being male. Overall female participation in the fintech workforce has largely remained unchanged from last year (22% last year and 24% this year). FinTech Australia is actively working to address this skew and determine what can realistically be done to address it in the short and longer term. To improve participation of women in the Australian fintech industry, the top three methods suggested by survey respondents are encouragement to follow STEM career paths (14%); adjusting recruiting practices (14%); and change company culture/policies (13%).
Referral the lynchpin...While emerging government initiatives such as the STEM pathway and entrepreneur visas are likely to assist in the future, talent is mainly recruited through contacts formed by fintech co-founders, however as fintechs mature reliance on recruitment agencies increases.
FinTech Australia membership
Number of employees
Talent pool shortage
Q18B. When you say it has been challenging attracting suitable talent, what kind of talent were you thinking about?
Base: Have faced challenges attracting suitable talent (n=)
Approaches to recruiting talent
Q25. Which of the following is the main way in which you recruit talent?
Base: All respondents (n=)
Lack of experienced startup and fintech talent in Australia
Q27. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? - There is a lack of experienced startup and fintech talent in Australia