Successful Switchers: Who Has What it Takes to Move into Fintech?


Fintech is a fast-paced, dynamic industry that’s constantly innovating and growing – it’s why those that work in the sector love it (ourselves included!). 

The sector’s resilience throughout economic challenges combined with modern ways of working have grabbed the attention of those working in the more traditional parts of the finance sector. 

The combination of exciting tech and big valuations along with lower perceived risk as Fintech continues to deepen its roots has been driving top talent to make the switch ever since the 2008 financial crisis, according to Claudia Ivanova, Head of HR for Fispan

But not everyone has what it takes to make it in one of the most innovative parts of the industry. 


Opportunities for new faces

From 2000 startups to almost 500 unicorns, new Fintech start-ups and businesses emerge every day. They all need great salespeople to help the business reach its potential – and fast. 

New job vacancies in Fintech are growing with an incredible 182% increase in tech jobs in the first quarter of 2022 alone. 

With this level of expansion, it won’t always be possible to hire from within the industry: demand for talent will outstrip the pool of people already working in Fintech. 


Comparing (or selling) apples and pears

Job seekers often underestimate just how big the change can be; they assume that sales techniques and business models will be similar across all financial products. 

What great Fintech salespeople do, however, is to understand and articulate the strategic business value of their solution.

It’s about much more than having a basic understanding of the product and its delivery mechanisms. 

Experienced Fintech salespeople have an appreciation of the level of investment involved in choosing a solution. They’re able to identify who the decision-makers are, anticipate their concerns, and match their pitch to the business priorities. 

This powerful combination of industry knowledge and business acumen enables them to paint a compelling picture of the value their solution will bring to that particular business. 

It needs someone who can get under the skin of the customer to understand how the solutions they’re selling can help solve their pain points. Candidates with a Financial Services background who may have only sold their company’s internal tech platform to different internal divisions or subsidiaries won’t necessarily have had to build this skillset in the same way. 


You work for who? 

Another aspect of the switch that both employers and candidates often underestimate is the change from a well-established brand to a relative unknown. 

Whilst many traditional financial services and banking firms are household names, even established Fintech firms don’t enjoy the same brand awareness. 

Research by Latana Brand Tracking found that when asked to think of a mobile bank, the best known was Monzo with 10% awareness, dropping to 4% for Starling and 2% for Revolut

Moving from an instantly recognisable firm to an unknown logo on your CV isn’t for everyone. 

Asking candidates about how a move into Fintech fits into their long-term career goals is a good way to understand how important employer brand is to a candidate and whether it’s likely to be a long-term switch. 


Experience with innovation

Those who successfully make the switch from traditional financial services and banking to Fintech are likely to come from more tech-savvy firms. 

With more banks and financial institutions embracing technology, there’s a growing pool of FS and banking candidates who will have experience with Fintech. 

Goldman Sachs, for example, invested heavily in USD coin from the startup Circle. 

Understanding their existing employer’s use of technology can help unpick whether a candidate already has valuable, transferable experience when moving to the Fintech sector. 


Subject Matter Experts 

There are some circumstances where first-time Fintech job seekers can really add value. 

When a Fintech firm is really focused on selling into a particular area, candidates with subject matter expertise can prove invaluable. Their “insider experience” and connections often help to build rapport with prospective clients, identify new opportunities, and open doors based on their existing network. 

When you’re looking to fill a vacancy, consider whether specific knowledge of a particular sector would add value. If so, someone looking to move into Fintech could be a good hire. 


Thinking before recruiting 

Invest time in thinking about whether your vacancy would be suitable for a Fintech first timer before starting the recruitment process. 

For more junior roles or a position where wider sector experience could add value, considering people from outside Fintech could allow you to reach a wider pool of candidates with valuable experiences and expertise. 

If you’re recruiting for a sales leader, however, candidates switching from traditional financial services or banking will rarely stack up against a seasoned Fintech salesperson with a proven track record and years of market understanding. 

Deciding on whether to consider candidates without Fintech experience before you put out a job ad or start the recruitment process helps speed up the recruitment process, ensuring you only focus on the right candidates for the role. 

If you’re struggling to decide whether to consider candidates from outside of Fintech, get in touch with our team for a chat. As the only specialists in Fintech sales recruitment, we’ve been helping Fintech firms think through recruitment challenges, design teams, and find the perfect candidates for more than 16 years.