As the finance industry adapts to the latest technologies, the need for graduates with just financial knowledge is decreasing. Companies now want people who are well versed in both finance and tech.
According to market research firm Opimas, almost 400,000 jobs in the finance industry will shift to AI by the year 2030. This includes jobs like investment banking, asset management, and brokerage. Most of the new jobs in the industry require people to have tech skills. In fact, during the January-May period, almost 35 percent of the jobs posted by 19 U.S. and European banks and asset managers pertained to data and tech roles. If the industry is not prepared to accept this shift, a large portion of the current workforce may become unemployed.
“Banks, asset managers and insurance companies increasingly want to employ people who can analyse customer data and communicate the insights, so as to design new products and cross-sell services,” Andrew Jenkins, a principal in the IT transformation practice of Odgers Berndtson, an executive search company, said to Financial Times. The recruitment trends of U.S. universities reflect this phenomenon. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business saw a 50 percent surge in tech hiring last year compared to 2017. Around 28 percent of the 2018 graduating class was snapped up by tech giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Dell, and so on.
“Many [students] find tech jobs appealing because of the chance to use their MBA skills to work on innovative projects, and products that are in-demand. Total compensation also tends to be competitive with other industries that hire a lot of MBAs, such as consulting and investment banking,” Sheryle Dirks, associate dean for Fuqua’s Career Management Center, said in a statement (Business Because). Salaries for graduates with both finance and tech skills also seem to be higher than for those who only have finance knowledge. For instance, the MBA graduates from Fuqua who were working in tech sectors were paid an average of US$130,000 per year compared to MBA graduates working with consulting firms who were paid US$125,000 per annum.
Fintech market and skills
The demand for financial technology professionals started growing after the 2008 financial crisis. “One of the things that happened around the financial crisis is that three key technologies entered and come-to-be… These three technologies is [sic] what gave rise to Fintech: Mobile Phones, Blockchain, and Cloud Computing,” Andrei Kirilenko, Director of the Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College London, said in a statement (CFTE).
As per CNBC, investments in the Fintech industry grew from US$17.4 billion in 2016 to US$31 billion in 2017. As mobile use increases, people will be more comfortable in engaging in financial transactions online, thereby ensuring that the Fintech sector keeps growing at a rapid pace in the coming years. As to the skills required in the Fintech industry, experts in blockchain and distributed ledger seem to be in demand.
Fintech firms often ask for 2 to 4 years of experience when looking for blockchain experts and are willing to pay handsomely. On average, blockchain professionals can expect to earn around US$130,000 in the U.S. Freelancer rates are around US$150 per hour. People skilled in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are also in high demand as financial institutions are seeking to leverage these technologies to develop new products and make existing products more efficient.