Posted by Michael Yahkind on Aug 20, 2020

As most recruiters and business entrepreneurs know only too well; money is only one of many scarce resources right now. In addition to our clients re-evaluating budgets, shelter-in-place is creating a new remote reality for many of our candidates.

The crisis has proven that digital services are the future. Banks have eliminated in-person services in major urban centers. However, for almost every financial in-person service lost, there is a fintech solution. It is almost certain that the fintech vertical will be a lucrative force for good.

Even before Covid-19, fintech was already revolutionizing banking, investing and even money (stores of value). Economic and IT experts agree, the majority of what today is considered “Fintech” was fueled by the financial crisis of 2008. Though the traditional financial industry may have taken a few years to catch on, entrepreneurs did not. Tech startups were lean and agile, and responded quickly to uncertainty with digital platforms and innovative technologies. It seems that in these unprecedented times, at least one piece of history is repeating itself. Investments in what is considered “financial innovation” jumped 5,600% from $1.2 billion in 2008 to more than $69 billion in 2019.

After a somewhat scary dip in February and March for fintech jobs, as of the last month, the industry seems to have come back stronger than ever. According to data by the Crypto exchange Kraken, average daily signups grew by 61% since January. Just like before the crisis, it is apparent that there is a lack of talent. According to Kraken’s Chief People Officer, the company hired and trained anyone they could find including the “wives, husbands, mothers, children and roommates” of current employees. This is potentially due to growing interest in Decentralized Finance (DeFi), a blanket term from mid-2019 for financial services like lending and trading built using Blockchain.

Still the future remains uncertain for cryptocurrency, with extreme volatility and real potential of great losses. What is certain is the technology first used to build cryptocurrency is here to stay. In my opinion, the enterprise adoption of blockchain is far more important for recruiters to learn. Big banks have been developing and using machine learning alongside Ethereum-based blockchains for years now. There are too many use cases to list, but most involve eliminating the need for a trusted third party for what are called “smart contracts.” In fact, this more subtle and nuanced method of blockchain integration is being combined with all sorts of cutting edge technologies. “Ai” which at this point is by and large still a buzzword for machine learning (ML), is also used heavily within the cybersecurity landscape of Fintech. Unlike humans, ML analyzes huge amounts of data in seconds to identify unusual behavior. Potentially the greatest recent success of ML involves “Robo-advisors,” which grew so much recently in sophistication that they substantially outperformed those of human investment advisors during the coronavirus crash. Closely related to chatbots, both have become much more user-friendly by providing personalized responses backed by numbers and records of the user.

Lastly, fintech is paving the way for “zero-trust” security. Zero Trust is an emerging cybersecurity principal which assumes that every attempt at access to your network is a threat until confirmed otherwise. With so much innovation and opportunity in place, hopefully this group will help us learn from each other, which in turn enables us to quickly understand and satisfy each of our client’s technical resource requirements.

Technical Paradigm success in the sector

Michael Yahkind is the owner of Technical Paradigm, tech contributor for Shift_The_Paradigm, a speaker at various tech conferences including Microsoft Ignite Chicago and TCnewTech, and a regular guest on recruitment podcasts such as CruitGroup, Recruitment Rollercoaster and PeopleMaximizers. Technical Paradigm was recently featured on Startup Recruiter and Medium as the “recruiting company you should know.” Mike got involved with Fintech as a recruiter, investor, and enthusiast in 2015. At the time, he was the Director of IT Talent for a large staffing firm in Chicago, and he observed fintech companies sprouting up left and right. The following year, Michael was hired by DISYS to oversee spearheading a managed staffing project responsible for the first institutional trade transaction via blockchain. The relationships he formed with talent in blockchain, machine learning, and predictive analytics helped him launch. The growth the firm has been organically developed via word of mouth between fintech start ups. Since the talent was so in demand, our bench of candidates has been our best sales tool.