Fintech’s Unique Talent Demands

by Carilyn Oxley, Managing Partner

We’ve done some fascinating headhunting work in the Fintech space.  By their very nature, FinTech leaders are fast paced disrupters who balance the requirements of building a business, sourcing funding and securing specialist skills at the appropriate time in the growth cycle.  The African landscape adds further unique challenges.

Globally, the organizational development of a FinTech company is also unique in that it is known to reach a critical phase of growth at the point when technology goes live, and funding needs to be secured.  This is the tipping point where critical and scarce skills are required and the FinTech is sometimes ill equipped internally to secure these skills at the pace at which they are required.  It is at this time, that funders often put the business under pressure to grow.

For FinTech companies in Africa, this phase is exacerbated by an acute, critical skill shortage and can create credibility issues with investors when significant positions remain vacant for long periods of time, hindering progress and frustrating growth.

FinTech companies tend to believe that they know the players in their industry and that they are able to recruit their own Rainmakers. The reality in most situations, is that the pool of talent is wider than their network and as their business grows, the talent they require to extend their capability falls outside of their network.

It goes without saying that the FinTech Rainmaker is a unique one.   Pace and innovation are required, coupled with financial services knowledge. Most successful FinTech skills are actually not identified from within large financial institutions as pace and innovation are the antithesis of their job profile. Not surprisingly, it requires innovation to identify the correct culture fit, in addition to the correct competences, when identifying skills for a FinTech organisation.

Partnering with a boutique executive search firm at the tipping point of a FinTech growth cycle can make the difference between having the right skills at the right time, or lagging in growth and development and often, delayed results for the investor.

Engaging in a headhunting process with the right partner, a trusted advisor who takes the time to immerse themselves in your business to understand the culture, the mission and the vision, is what is required for certain roles. This expert is able to scan the market (globally if necessary) for the right skills and culture fit for your organisation. This takes time, but the search firm will follow a rigorous and thorough search process known to yield results.   What is your talent strategy?  Should you avoid wasting time waiting for your own network to yield results?

For a confidential, introductory discussion, please contact

Carilyn Oxley, Managing Partner, Johannesburg,

Janet Labberte, Managing Partner, Cape Town,