FinTech promises to create a better and more inclusive financial services sector for everyone but when it comes to diversity, many are failing to live up to expectations.
Less than one in ten of the UK’s Top 50 FinTech businesses include female representation at the board level and people from different social, economic and ethnic groups are under represented in leadership roles- despite workplace equality being critical for many businesses.
Why is this still an issue?
FinTech companies and entrepreneurs who want to hire people from different backgrounds complain of a limited pool of skills and talent. At Innovate Finance, we believe making STEM learning compulsory for students, online learning and introducing mentorship programmes at schools and the workplace would increase our chances of creating a diverse and qualified pool of candidates for the FinTech sector.
More also needs to be done to tackle unconscious bias and the tendency of firms to hire in their own image, which can give the false impression that the ‘right’ talent isn’t out there to grow your business.
We cast the net as wide as possible when recruiting by hiring through LinkedIn job posts. Not only is this a cheaper method of recruitment for a startups it also ensures an equal opportunity for all applicants to get their CVs seen by a hiring manager instead of a recruitment agency, which removes any filtering biases in that process.
We operate a partnership model which means that all team heads have to interview and sign off on a candidate. This allows for the best candidate to rise to the top, ensuring employees are hired on the basis of competence and cultural fit. Instead of focusing on the value candidates bring to a specific role we look closely at what they can add to the team.
Initiatives such as flexible working options would help students and parents manage work life balance and encourage them to apply and stay in careers – while the introduction of ‘returnship’ schemes for women wishing to re-enter the workforce would help close the gender divide. These initiatives have helped us to recruit more men, women and graduates from different backgrounds.
It’s important to celebrate the companies that are leading the way in creating a diverse workforce that truly reflects our society. We commend the firms spotlighted in our diversity book at LondonTechnology Week.
We hope they will inspire more startups to follow their lead and give more people a chance to have equal access to work opportunities and to help to deliver a better future for financial services.
Georgia Hanias, Head of Diversity, Innovate Finance
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