UK Fintech Amid Covid-19: Hiring Trends and Demand for Fluid IT Workforce

uk fintech hiring trends 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has left even the most Agile and resilient organisations in the UK scrambling in unimaginable ways. With the global supply chains being disrupted significantly, it becomes more difficult for businesses, big and small, to focus on growth and sustainability. The pandemic clearly underscores the need for a more fluid talent, a more seamless knowledge flow, and more innovative ideas to enable better agility, capacity, and capability.

Of all the gloom and doom brought about by the ongoing pandemic, one thing is clear – technology will continue playing a crucial role in saving us from future disruptions and rebooting the entire UK economy.

However, as numerous recent research findings suggest, the UK alone doesn’t have all the tech talent it needs to meet new challenges and opportunities stemming from the Coronavirus. As such, the need to access untapped talent pools and extend the local IT workforce overseas to fill the skills gap as soon as possible has now hit a critical level. Otherwise, the country is at risk of losing its position as a financial, cultural, and scientific world leader in the post-Brexit era, as the crowd expert suggests.

Recent months have taught us some valuable lessons about the necessity of being proactively prepared for worst-case scenarios. Business leaders need to go a step further to ensure their tech talent supply chains do not only respond to future crises but can capitalise on the opportunities that may arise.

A recent survey by Vanson Bourne has found that 56% of IT companies in the UK are citing “lack of in-house talent” as their top challenge. Other challenges include:

  • Lack of budget – 32%;
  • Lack of access to the right technologies and tools – 28%, and
  • Lack of access to useful data – 26%.

When it comes to fintech, the evolution of AI has been one of the key drivers of this sector growth.

According to Decision Marketing, although AI has a high adoption rate in the UK, companies are being held back by significant barriers, and lack of talent is the biggest one. In a recent survey by SnapLogic, 73% of UK firms confirm the deficit of AI developers and data scientists to complete their ambitious initiatives and projects. AI and Big Data skills shortage is now costing UK businesses more than £2 billion a year. Given that nearly three-quarters of companies (74%) have initiated an AI project during the past three years, AI talent shortage can be a disaster for those projects.

To build the right AI software development team, an impressive 68% of the UK business executives admit investing in upskilling and retraining of their existing personnel. Further, nearly 58% of IT decision-makers indicate using a headhunting strategy and recruiting skilled talent from other companies both within and outside of the UK to source the right specialists. In comparison, 49% rely on recruiting from universities.

While nearly all sectors, including IT, manufacturing and banking, are struggling to hire the right skill sets these days, there’s one sector that seems to be doing pretty good despite the crisis. It’s Fintech.

Fintechs have done a tremendous job of creating an entrepreneurial culture, encompassing fast-thinking and implementation, cross-department collaboration, true flexi and agile working, and soft-benefits geared around wellbeing. In no other industry does the product design, tech, marketing and finance departments work as seamlessly together as they do in a successful fintech company. As a result, they have been able to attract the kind of professionals that every company is in need of now, those who are hyper-aware of how to maintain a good work-life balance, solid tech proficiency, and staff who are passionate and dedicated to achieving company objectives,” Tom Chambers, Senior Manager, Technology at Robert Walters.

With a 53% growth over the last three years, a 20% surge in demand during the lockdown, and an active fundraising scene, fintech has become the poster-boy for how an industry can respond quickly and effectively to change and opportunity.

What sets fintechs apart from companies in other sectors is a proneness to strategic hiring. The rule of thumb in fintech is to make sure tech professionals make up a third of the company’s entire workforce.

While more than 22% of all jobs in the wider high-growth economy are being jeopardised as a result of Covid-19, in fintech, this number is as low as just 2%!

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Regulatory compliance

Today, specialists with a compliance background account for only 7% of the British fintech talent pool. However, professionals within this area can command as much as £90,000 per annum.


Demand within this field has grown by 52% YoY, representing 9% of the total fintech talent pool in Britain.

Cybersecurity and fraud investigations

Demand for cybersecurity specialists has gone up by 43%, representing 10% of all fintech jobs.

Customer experience

Demand has grown by 33%, while demand for Customer Experience Managers has seen a whopping 89% surge. 

Risk management

Demand for job roles has grown by 26% YoY, now representing 14% of all jobs within the sector. Demand for Risk Analysts has increased by 27%. The role can command an average salary of £45,000, while credit risk analysts are being paid an average of £52,000.

Product design and management

The rapid growth of UX and UI design skills (52% and 40% accordingly) is attributed to the proven value of fintech applications for the consumer market.

Demand for product management skills remains steady (around 15% YoY growth), as scaling fintechs are in need of product owners and managers with the right balance of hard and soft skills as well as stakeholder management capability and strong and mature customer mindset.

Software engineering

In the constant push for improvements in service quality, latency reduction, real-time updates, and robust features, fintech is witnessing exceptional growth of Reactjs (82%) and DevOps talent (57%). In general, companies continue focusing on the use of APIs and Open Banking, microservices engineering, containerisation, and Cloud solutions.

Leveraging Big Data and Machine Learning (ML) is key to the delivery of successful and highly efficient fintech products. As such, the demand for such skills has increased by almost 72% over the past months.

Large or VC-backed organisations are ready to pay an average of £80,000 per year, while startups and SMBs pay their ML specialists an average of £66,000.

Evolve can help you hire the same roles with the same competence level, but 2-3x faster and cheaper than in the UK with no compromise on quality! Drop us a line and let's talk business!

How Fintechs can access and grow more fluid IT workforce

According to, strategic hiring should be based on the following three pillars:

  1. Discoverability
  2. Skills forecasting
  3. Tapping into “trapped value”.

Now let’s delve into details of each.


First and foremost, business leaders should understand their talent supply chain. They should map out all of the required skills, capabilities and backgrounds, and key influencers. Monica Pool Knox, Microsoft’s global head of HR for AI, mixed reality and cloud security/identity, believes companies should start with picturing accurate profiles of full-time employees, then part-time/hourly employees, contract and then gig workers.

This understanding helps recruitment specialists identify collective skill strengths and weaknesses, gaps, which leads to the creation of the ultimate talent acquisition plans.

Skills forecasting

Now when WFH is a new normal, it’s important to ask what roles and processes will have to change as a result of it and how they can leverage AI or advanced analytics to achieve work automation. 

Numerous studies indicate that only one in four companies is prepared for automation and taking advantage of AI tech, which helps rethink talent management, respond to challenges promptly, and plan and budget hiring months in advance.

Tapping into “trapped value”

Modern companies should be able to draw on deeper and more diverse talent pools. This will allow them to select people quickly based on their skills, experience and interests while saving costs on lengthy hiring processes and war for talent with local competitors.

One of the solutions is to distribute software development supply chain among several locations overseas to speed up time to find the right talent and diversify risks of a single pool lock-in.

Our fintech client e-bate did so, and achieved unprecedented results, check out their case study!

Alternatively, companies can create a network of trusted tech/talent partner organisations and share or rent talent from each other through it. Recent research by has found that higher-performing firms leverage such partners three-and-a-half times more than the lower-performing ones.

Collaborations that are based on planned rotations of employees and cross-talent solutions are typically very powerful and can help businesses access and grow a more fluid workforce from different talent acquisition sources and gain an unparalleled competitive edge.

Are you looking for a professional and mature tech partner to help bring your fintech idea into life fast and in a cost-effective manner? From legacy system modernisation to bespoke fintech software development to in-house fintech team extension overseas – we have the Talent, Expertise, and Experience to help you transform digitally and thrive!

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