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Survey finds fintech sector ready to deal with talent crunch

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-06 09:54
A visitor queries about finance at the Beijing International Finance Expo in January. [Photo by Li Zongxian/for China Daily]

China is facing an acute shortage of professional fintech (financial technology) talent, a survey by recruitment company Michael Page China found.

About 92 percent of the fintech companies surveyed agreed they face a shortage of talent, and 38 percent of them view the quality of talent as critical to the sustained success in the industry, according to the latest China Fintech Employment 2018 Report by Michael Page China.

The survey found that recruitment of fintech talent was found to be a challenging experience, with 85 percent of employers expressing difficulties.

As cited by 45 percent of respondents, the biggest hurdle for them remains the shortage of necessary skills. Retaining professionals is not easy either. Some 47 percent of the fintech talent surveyed stated they had changed jobs in the last 12 months.

"Within fintech, we are observing a growing demand for talent with skills relating to artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. These skills are also sought after in sectors outside of fintech, such as other Chinese internet companies, creating a wider talent gap in the market," said Rupert Forster, managing director of Michael Page North and East China.

"The gap between employer demand for skills and the available talent is not a problem exclusive to fintech. We see this across many sectors which is purely a reflection of the fast-growing, innovative nature of modern China. The most successful companies are those that are able to implement in-house talent development programs."

With fintech often facing the challenge of keeping up with new technology, the task of hiring change-friendly candidates is critical, said Max Liu, co-founder and CEO of EMQ, a Hong Kong-based provider of remittance, money transfer and financial settlement services.

Ideally, candidates who can think independently and are proactive problem-solvers will have an advantage, he said.

For the best fintech professionals, top motivations are strong career path (29 percent), right company culture fit (24 percent) and salary (17 percent). And 44 percent of respondents said they expect raises ranging from 21 percent to 30 percent at the time of taking up a new job.

All these factors have contributed to acute fintech talent shortage. Thankfully, professionals currently employed in other industries appear to be willing to change their career for fintech, provided they are offered competitive salaries, good employment packages and strong technology platforms, the survey found.

"They also consider less tangible qualities such as employer branding, company values as well as work environment and culture. We've seen candidates from the traditional financial services market with the necessary advanced technology skills successfully transfer to fintech," said Forster.

Wang Jiaqi contributed to this story.

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