Bridging the FinTech skills gap

The FinTech sector has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years, generating an astounding £20 billion last year in the UK alone. The UK has firmly established itself as a leader in FinTech as demonstrated by the fact that there are more people employed in London’s FinTech sector than in either New York or Silicon Valley. The sector now employs over 135,000 people across the UK. However, barriers to sustained growth and continued job creation still remain.

In particular, skills and access to talent represent a major hurdle. According to the Open University, 75% of FinTech firms fear a skills crisis over the next 3 years and 44% of them claim that finding the right talent represents a vital challenge for their business. Crucially, the European Commission predicts that the UK will have a shortage of 249,000 workers for technologically skilled jobs by 2020.

Several measures have been introduced to address this issue, including the release of ‘UK FinTech 2020’, Innovate Finance’s manifesto. The manifesto aims to address the key areas affecting the sector, including the creation of 100,000 jobs in UK FinTech by 2020. The UK government also took a bold move last year, by making coding a compulsory part of the national school curriculum. This has been complemented by the development of private schemes such as DeCoded or Code First Girls, which aim to help individuals outside school, to develop these skills.

Although fostering technical skills represents a huge step in closing the skills gap, it is just as important to foster a culture of innovation and to raise awareness of the key role that tech plays in today’s world. Just as young professionals would traditionally aspire for a position at a large financial institution, consultancy or law firm, we would also need those young people to dream of carriers at startups like money transfer firm, TransferWise, or peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter. Innovate Finance has partnered with The Open University to help drive this change by providing senior executives, technology enthusiasts and young professionals with an in-depth understanding of the sector via a brand new course, FinTech 101: Understanding Financial Technologies.’ The course is a great opportunity for individuals to learn about the origins of the FinTech sector and to gain an insight into how FinTech innovation is pushing boundaries and shaping a future of finance that is sustainable for everyone.

This course is a crucial first step for anyone looking to move into the FinTech sector or just keen to understand how the FinTech landscape is transforming traditional financial services, as well as the world we live in. For more information, please visit the course microsite.

Got any thoughts on what the UK should be doing to tackle the skills gap? Let us know in comments or tweet @InnFin. Interested in taking the FinTech 101’ course or want to find out more about it? Get in touch via talent@innovatefinance.com.

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