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A look ahead to a very important period for fintech and crypto

Fintech and Crypto jobs in 2023: What to watch out for

After a difficult year, the fintech industry is looking forward to a more productive 2023.

These are the big things to look out for in the coming year.

Fintechs will be making definitive hires in Q1

No rest for the weary it seems, as firms will have to be hard at work immediately when the new year starts.

Deepali Vyas, head of fintech at consultancy firm Kornferry, predicts that Q1 of 2023 will be one of, if not the most important quarter in the history of fintech.

“It’s going to be a pinnacle moment for what the next 7 or 8 years for fintech will look like,” says Vyas. “We will know by Q1 what that run is going to look like.” While last year was typified by job cuts, Vyas says “if there’s gonna be any critical hiring, it’s going to be happening early next year.”

That being said, a poor first quarter is not a death sentence. “It’s not make or break, more like wait and see.”

“Just another winter” for crypto?

There is some debate as to just how bad the crypto winter of 2022 is, and whether it will turn into the crypto apocalypse.

Rob Paone, founder of crypto recruitment firm Proof of Talent, believes that it’s just a cycle, though admittedly the biggest yet, whilst Deepali Vyas is far more damning of the sector’s trajectory.

“It seems to be every four years people say it's over,” says Paone. “The bigger the cycle, the harder it is to bounce back.” As difficult as it might be, “the quality of talent in the space” has convinced Paone that the industry “are as well positioned to do it as they’ve ever been.”

Vyas is less convinced. “If I go out on a limb” she says, “I’ll say we might see its comeback in 10 years.” People are simply less interested in crypto careers, says Vyas. There's less excitement than before and this is unlikely to change.

But...will regulation save Binance?

A foregone conclusion from the FTX drama will be the fast-tracking of legislation in the digital asset space. This should create jobs in risk and compliance next year, but it could also dull some of the industry's zing.

Shawn Rutter, fintech recruiter at executive search firm Excelsior Search, calls crypto legislation “a double-edged sword” because “people want it decentralized.”

Much depends upon what happens to industry stalwart binance. The firm suspended and then unsuspended withdrawals in December after over $1B was taken out… a bad enough sign on its own without knowing just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Everybody wants somebody different

When speaking to different headhunters, it appears that there’s no unanimous profile of employee fintech firms are looking for right now.

Shawn Rutter says that, having spoken to a number of fintech CTOs, that “data science, AI and Machine learning come up a lot.” He says that this is due to finance being very “data driven” which is reflected by the parallel increase in demand in traditional finance.

Though hedge funds tend to demand greater levels of education, fintechs aren’t as selective. “Fintechs have gotta compete with those hedge funds,” says Rutter. “They want bright people but there will only be a certain number of PhDs.”

Vyas on the other hand said confidently said fintechs want “product, hands down.” She says that “these fintechs that are maturing used to be one trick ponies with one product, but have now discovered the enterprise product suite.”

Focused on the crypto space, Rob Paone says that the focus is less on specialization and more on seniority. His work currently “focusing a lot right now on the early stage technical side.” A harder to fill area for Paone are senior business development and marketing professionals.

The golden age of cashing-out has lost its shine

At a recent EMEA fintech summit, Accel noted that not a single Western fintech launched an IPO or SPAC last year. Equally, Accel said private unicorn values are looking low compared to those already trading publicly. The 40 public unicorns it looked at had an average value of nearly $10.7B while the 266 private unicorns had an average value of just $3.5B.

Share based compensation has been the main selling point of fintech jobs. However, with valuations down dramatically, shares are not nearly as appealing as they were. And jobs' appeal stands to suffer accordingly. 

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