With fears that UK fintechs will struggle to get the talent they need to compete, fintech industry body Innovate Finance has kicked off an initiative to inspire schoolchildren to become fintech leaders.
Fintech for Schools is an aim to increase fintech the talent pipeline for the future. There will be a particular focus on ensuring the sector is appealing to girls.
“The sector continues to grow rapidly and therefore needs to appeal to a diverse workforce to fill the many exciting opportunities within fintech companies,” said Innovate Finance. “It is therefore important to target secondary school students to inspire them at this crucial point in their lives, as they make decisions between universities or more specialised further education such as apprenticeships.
Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of Innovate Finance said: “Fintech is one of the UK’s fastest growing industries and one where we hold a strong competitive advantage. Success is however heavily dependent on talent, which is in short supply both domestically and globally. It is vital that we ensure we are inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, and equipping them with the skills they will need to succeed.”
There are concerns in the sector that available talent could be scarcer as the UK leaves the EU. For example the founder of digital challenger bank Revolut recently called for special visas for fintech professionals so London and the UK don’t lose the best talent to countries like Germany and France.
Michael Kent co- founder and CEO at app based remittance provider Azimo, Tandem Bank said: “Access to talent is a huge and on-going problem – the fintech sector relies heavily on global talent to plug the serious skills gap facing this country.”
Developing local talent is more important than ever as skilled professionals from the EU turn their backs on the UK.
He said he is already seeing young tech workers changing their minds about building their careers in the UK. The affordability, good work life balance and interesting job prospects in other European cities are proving attractive. “Millennial workers are looking at cities like Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam to grow professionally – and they are also attracted to the vibrancy of these hubs and the lower cost of living.”
Shefali Roy, chief operating officer at fintech TrueLayer said to solve the skills shortage problem in the long term policy makers must develop talent from a young age. “Ideas like tech visas may help in the short term, however, we need more substantive reform to education and training to create a greater depth of homegrown talent,” she added.
Innovate Finance, along with 200 of its fintech members, will be hosting a school event to introduce students to financial services and technology. Find out more here.