Top tips for women in fintech on how to build your career

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A Summer 2022 report shows that more than three-quarters of women working in fintech in the UK believe their organisation is inclusive.

This is a positive development for the industry because more women thriving in fintech means a more thriving fintech sector in the future. Here are 10 top tips for women in fintech on how to build your career.

  1. Believe in your talent

A report published in the summer of 2022 by EY has shown that 63% of female respondents believe that their gender impacts how they are perceived professionally and their roles as leaders in an industry that is still male dominated. It’s important that we retain confidence in our professional capabilities and talent! A working paper released in July 2022 by the IMF has shown that the percentage of women now on executive boards is slightly higher at more recently founded fintech firms than traditional firms, showing positive signs of a changing industry.

  1. Cast your net as widely as possible

The people you work with now will be your clients, colleagues or associates of the future – so widen your network and contact list as much as possible. Fintech events are a great place to network, whether in person or virtually, along with conferences or start-up open houses, and of course industry networking events.

  1. Create a digital presence

Make use of the  many free professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, which enable you to build your digital presence. Connect with those who work in the industry both in your city and globally, connect with fintech thought leaders, share your views in discussions and even uncover exciting job opportunities. In the US, employers are now even recruiting through the code hosting platform GitHub, demonstrating how beneficial having a digital presence can be.

  1. Mentoring

Having a mentor can help you understand the wider fintech industry through another person’s perspective and provides a valuable learning experience. It’s important to have at least one visible role model who looks like you, talks like you and has a similar background. If opportunities also arise for you to be a mentor to the younger generation take them as it’s a fantastic way to develop your own leadership skills and positively impact and motivate other young women starting in the industry.

  1. Be the change you want to see

Don’t be afraid to share your success stories or moments of your career journey in webinars, at workshops, networking events and public forums. This will aid in creating supportive, professional networks that women in fintech currently lack, helping to reshape the landscape for women in the sector and help drive change.

  1. Be aware of trends in the fintech industry

Today over 70% of digitally active adults in the UK use a fintech service. According to a Forbes article published on 30 March 2022, the most prominent fintech trends in 2022 you must know are:

  1. Embedded Finance: Used to integrate financial technologies.
  2. Web3: Considered the internet of the future, it decentralises finance using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
  3. Super App: A set of apps that will offer various fintech services like making cashless payments and managing investments.

Being aware of key trends in the industry  is key to navigating and planning your own career journey.

  1. Keep up with regulations

Whilst certain parts of the fintech industry are still outside of the regulatory scope, it has become increasingly important to understand regulations and rules such as general data protection, anti-money laundering policies, ‘KYC’ compliance requirements, and PCI DSS compliance. Ensure your reading lists includes the key updates and many law firms and compliance consultants produce updates which you can sign up to.

  1. Flexibility

It’s amazing to have a specialisation, but this can sometimes lead to a narrow focus instead of embracing change in an ever-growing industry, so be flexible. Your background also doesn’t have to define your entry and progression in your fintech career.

  1. Get creative

Contributing on a blog, podcast, or social media channel that creates fintech related content will help you stay updated with the latest fintech trends and these out-of-the-box ideas can boost your CV.

  1. Find your champions and cheerleaders

These are the people that can lift you up when you excel and catch you when you fall. Your support network will take you a long way, and will be pivotal in supporting you in your focus on tech. I have some great colleagues, partners and mentors who work within the fintech domain and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing what I am today!

About the author

Yasmin JohalYasmin is a Lawyer at CMS and is one of the few females specialising in the regulatory aspects of FinTech. She provides expert advice to all players within the FinTech ecosystem, and helps shape trends and developments in the FinTech industry internationally. She has worked across the UK and US financial markets, helping deploy technological innovation, and frequently authors industry leading thought leadership on areas of financial regulation, FinTech and innovation. Yasmin is a Tech speaker and an advocate for increasing Female and BAME representation in Tech, and speaks at a variety of events and on podcasts, on a range of topics from FinTech, D&I and career development. Yasmin was a #TechWomen100 2020 Award Winner; recognised for her work in Fintech and has also been recognised as a Standout 35 winner in the Women in Fintech Powerlist 2020 with Innovate Finance.


Gender diversity in fintech: Making a difference from the inside out

Diverse-group-of-stylish-people-standing-together.-Society-or-population-social-diversity

Article by Rosie McConnell, Head of Product, IFX Payments

The Fintech industry is often admired for its unmatched level of growth. Fintechs are behind the rapid product development that has transformed the finance industry and the way consumers manage and understand their money. 

However, for an industry that is so progressive and forward thinking, there’s still a large imbalance in gender diversity from entry level and junior roles all the way through to senior management and C-suite.

It’s a topic covered frequently both by the media, and also internally by businesses wanting to address this themselves. Yet every year, we continue to see significantly disproportionate numbers in gender diversity.  So why aren’t we seeing a change?

At IFX, we pride ourselves on having a strong 40:60 female:male split – substantially higher than the industry standard.

I’m approaching my tenth year in the industry, and I find myself in a unique position, now that I’ve sat on both sides of the hiring table.  As I reflect on what I’ve observed, I can offer some key learnings from my own personal experience to offer businesses some food for thought on their mission to be more inclusive.

The applications

Hiring power goes hand in hand with the opportunity to drive change. Within my three years here, FX has gone through incredible growth and I’m proud to now be in a position of having hiring power and being able to utilise it as a tool to challenge gender disparity across the sector.

When I went through the process of looking to hire myself, I observed that when I offered two roles, one junior and one senior, there was a clear gender split in terms of applications that didn’t necessarily reflect the candidate’s experience and skill sets.

Frequently I found that women were applying to junior roles even when their experience was more suited to the senior, and vice versa with male candidates.  Being in a position of hiring power, I felt it was important to give the applicant this feedback and encourage greater confidence and constructive criticism in their abilities.

This observation made me actively relook at our external messaging about roles at IFX and consider the ways in which we are describing our company, the roles and responsibilities, and the commitment we are asking people to make. Here I outline my top three observations:

1. Job requirements

The first step in guaranteeing that you’re appealing to the candidates with the most suitable skill set is to ensure, as the person hiring, you have clear definitions of the difference between a senior and junior and what the exact experience and expectations are of someone at this level.

Mapping core competencies, skills and experience to seniority, and identifying the best way to surface this in your interview with the candidates will help you know when a candidate is being bullish or under-selling themselves.

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2. Language 

Once these clear benchmarks are set, it is then key that the job application is appealing and attractive to everyone at that level.  As an employer, consider how company policy is reflected in the language of the job posting and how this will be digested by the person reading it.

I noticed that job posts can be filled with language and phrasing that is more likely to appeal to men, and by making simple switches to more gender neutral and inclusive language, I could make our roles more attractive to a broader range of candidates. I urge those with hiring power to review their current job ads and analyse the perception the language used is giving out to potential hires.

3. Equally appealing

Ultimately a role and company culture should appeal to candidates of any gender, as well as anyone of any race or social and economic backgrounds.

Topics affecting the candidates welfare are those which are most likely to be asked in an interview so addressing them in the job posting will likely attract quality talent.  Think about the work from home protocol, mentoring and parental leave allowances.

Tailoring management

Industries which have been historically dominated by men, often lack the management teams who possess skills suited to the growing female workforce. But with workplaces becoming more diverse, managers need to learn to deal with different communication styles and ways of working to make it more appealing to females across the board.  Ultimately, for those in managerial positions, the goal is to pull the best out of your team in order to create better products.  The more we work with our team, the better the results will be.  So what’s the answer?  As women in the industry, we need to introduce more empathy to management in order to nurture female talent and drive greater change.

Looking ahead

I think it’s a complicated problem, and we’re starting to understand that businesses taking a one-size-fits-all approach to diversifying their workforce isn’t always effective. I would argue we must analyse and really understand each individual process, culture and positioning to be able to make meaningful change, that is not curtailed or dependent on external factors.

Innovation and delivering the best work for clients can only happen if the teams are actually varied in thought and I put some of our best ideas at IFX down to the diverse teams we hire.

About the Rosie McConnellauthor

In her role as the Head of Product at IFX, Rosie McConnell is responsible for establishing the deliverables and objectives for IFX’s product offering. With over 10 years of experience in the Fintech sector, Rosie plays a key role in defining and prioritizing product roadmaps for IFX as well as taking ownership for product development and the technological innovation of IFX.

With a decade of industry experience under her belt, Rosie began her career at WorldPay in 2012 before joining Thomas Cook Money in 2018 after which she joined IFX.

Her goal for the year ahead is to drive IFX’s expansion of payment global coverage whilst prioritising traceability and transparency of funds. She is also working on adapting IFX’S virtual iban offering so that the product offers greater level of flexibility and transparency.

Rosie is a passionate champion of value-led change in an industry that is predominantly dominated by men, through helping to advance the Women in Fintech agenda as well as working towards maintaining a cognitively biased team which relies on people from all backgrounds and experiences working together.


Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Why and how: increasing female representation in FinTech

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Article by Yasmin Johal, Associate, CMS

The FinTech industry creates and delivers highly innovative and disruptive technologies that seek to alter the landscape of various traditional financial sectors, such as payment services, trading and lending platforms.

FinTech is by nature forward facing, employing the use of pioneering technologies and software-based solutions to provide unique and accessible solutions to all. Whilst technology relies on empirical and data driven science, it is not necessarily the case that it therefore produces products that are free of human bias and error. In fact, human biases are coded into technology every day. This can occur not through deliberate and conscious decision-making, but most commonly through a lack of representation of society, for example women. To produce products that work for all, and represent gender differences, it is imperative that women are included in the creative process across all levels, from consumer data collection to senior management.

It has also been commonly acknowledged that increased diversity in business settings results in better financial outcomes and productivity. It is for this reason that McKinsey labelled gender inequality as a “critical economic challenge”. Companies that do not invest in the development and promotion of female talent simply lose out. A range of perspectives and life experiences is crucial in capturing wide and diverse consumer markets – something which all FinTech companies should aspire to do. Firms with diverse and inclusive boards and management teams make better and more informed decisions, drive innovative solutions, and outperform their competitors.

A more obvious point as to why we need increased representation of women in FinTech, is that women make up half of the world’s population and are therefore a huge consumer market. More than that, women are typically more likely than men to be responsible for household financial management and control of dispensable income. This provides only a glimpse into the potential of the economic power of women. Despite this, women are less likely than men to use FinTech products. The inclusion of women in FinTech across all levels therefore could go a long way in increasing the marketability and appeal of FinTech products.

Some of the most significant barriers to increasing female representation in FinTech include:

  • balancing childcare and family demands with work;
  • accessing funding – at every stage, female-led businesses receive less funding than male-led businesses;
  • access to professional networks in the industry; and
  • a lack of self-belief – 1 in 6 women believe they lack the necessary skills and knowledge.

Combatting these barriers to entry demands a multifaceted approach, one element of which is to encourage women and girls into tech and STEM fields and to promote the development of coding and data skills. Despite slight increases over the last few years, the number of women in STEM remains pitifully low. Whilst it is important to highlight that a STEM background is not necessary to enter FinTech, guiding women into STEM careers is a vital part of the journey.

Innovation combined with a consumer-centric mindset is also crucial to increasing female engagement with FinTech. It is important for FinTech firms to really make an effort to analyse gender-disaggregated data, speak to women, and identify ways in which they can design solutions that not only disrupt traditional markets, but that are also marketable and desirable to women. Creating and building products that advance the way in which women contribute to and access financial services is imperative to improving the gender disparity in FinTech.

Finally, the importance of firm culture and inclusivity cannot be overstated. Diversity and inclusion should be on every FinTech firm’s agenda and be afforded priority. Whilst many FinTech firms may be in relatively infant stages compared to the more traditional financial services companies, it is crucial for FinTech firms to seek to pro-actively lead the change from the outset through inclusive internal policies and practices.  This can be achieved through the adoption of hybrid and flexible working, zero tolerance of sexual harassment and sexism, and inclusive recruitment practices. Role models, education, networking and showcasing talent are just a few things that can help encourage more women in tech. We need to amplify the profiles of successful women to encourage the next generation of women in FinTech.

About the author

Yasmin JohalYasmin is a Lawyer at CMS and is one of the few females specialising in the regulatory aspects of FinTech. She provides expert advice to all players within the FinTech ecosystem, and helps shape trends and developments in the FinTech industry internationally. She has worked across the UK and US financial markets, helping deploy technological innovation, and frequently authors industry leading thought leadership on areas of financial regulation, FinTech and innovation. Yasmin is a Tech speaker and an advocate for increasing Female and BAME representation in Tech, and speaks at a variety of events and on podcasts, on a range of topics from FinTech, D&I and career development. Yasmin was a #TechWomen100 2020 Award Winner; recognised for her work in Fintech and has also been recognised as a Standout 35 winner in the Women in Fintech Powerlist 2020 with Innovate Finance.


Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Championing women in fintech 

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain concept

Article by Rosie McConnell, Head of Product at IFX Payments 

Whilst FinTech as an industry is often viewed as a beacon of progression, the reality is that even at a time where gender equality and the advancement of female talent is top of most business agendas, the stats show a different image.

Reports revealed that less than 30% of the employee base is made up of women, with less than 20% of them occupying executive positions, and fewer than 5% are CEO’s.

So whilst FinTech businesses are undoubtedly transforming the financial services sector, and the future of many consumer experiences such as online banking and payments, it is clear that as a sector there is a lot of work to do on the gender equality front.

Looking back over my ten year career in the Fintech sector, at every step, female role models have played a key part in my development. In my first role I worked under both a female manager and COO who were pivotal in helping me navigate the workplace, my career and the industry, whilst teaching me to maintain authenticity and find ways to put my own mark on the work we were doing.

This level of support and female-led mentorship set me up for success by giving me a strong foundation and resilience to continue pushing boundaries and to recognise the unique value that I could bring to my role. I strongly believe that positive advocacy, female C-suite representation and effective mentorship, can move the needle and help FinTechs retain, champion and cultivate female talent.

But before we can really start making a change, we’ve got to try to pinpoint why even amidst the massive focus on advancing gender diversity, the problem still exists. We’ve seen that the number of women in Fintech has remained low whilst the industry has only continued to grow.

Something that has come up repeatedly is that for many women, a career in Fintech means making difficult prioritisation decisions in other areas of life. Something that I took from my female mentors was that for them, whilst pursuing their professional successes, a consideration always had to be made as to how to juggle work and home duties and overcome personal barricades that perhaps their male counterparts had not experienced.

In particular, the discourse surrounding working women having children often remains largely negative and, as such, a moment in my career that I found particularly profound was when a speaker at a conference openly encouraged those of us in the crowd to have children. It was inspirational to hear the positives rather than the hindrance motherhood presents, highlighting how it can make you a better decision maker, more focussed and generally able to prioritise more as your time becomes more valuable. But speaking positively about women balancing a family and a career should be the norm, not an exception.

As employers we should endeavour to make this balance easy, especially within financial services careers which have historically made it difficult. We need to see changes to policies which allow greater flexibility and acceptance of blended working so that female employees not only feel included, but championed, something which hopefully the pandemic has kickstarted.

That being said, encouraging women to pursue careers in Fintech should not be about preferential treatment or a driving force for male-critical discourse to take place. Rather a cultural and a mindset change that is flexible, creative and inclusive.

I will forever be grateful for the guidance and support I received early in my career and now in my role as head of product at IFX. And whilst there is no quick-fix to boosting the number of women in FinTech, it is important to remember that cognitive diversity not only in gender, but personality types, backgrounds, ages, race, ultimately encourages better teams and as a result better products.

Rosie McConnellAbout the author

In her role as the Head of Product at IFX, Rosie McConnell is responsible for establishing the deliverables and objectives for IFX’s product offering. With over 10 years of experience in the Fintech sector, Rosie plays a key role in defining and prioritizing product roadmaps for IFX as well as taking ownership for product development and the technological innovation of IFX.

Rosie is a passionate champion of value-led change in an industry that is predominantly dominated by men, through helping to advance the Women in Fintech agenda as well as working towards  maintaining a cognitively biased team which relies on people from all backgrounds and experiences working together.


Fintech featured

The lessons I learnt starting my career in FinTech | Delia Pedersoli

Article by Delia Pedersoli, Chief Operating Officer at MultiPay Global Solutions

FintechThe fintech industry is one of the most exciting and fulfilling sectors to work in. Each day you get to meet and work with so many great and inspiring people, while at the same time developing products and solutions that have a real-world, positive impact on people’s lives.

You can see this in so many of the businesses that have emerged over the last few years. For instance, we have seen new and exciting enterprises launch that have changed the game when it comes to small business (SMEs) funding. Now, instead of going through a bank to gain access to funding, SMEs can turn to innovative companies such as Iwoca and Funding Circle for quicker and easier access to financing. In the consumer space, we have seen similar developments too with challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo delivering exceptional customer and in app experiences too. This has now forced every other bank to up its game accordingly with the ultimate winners being customers.

However, fintech businesses like these are not built overnight and without overcoming challenges. Having worked in the fintech industry for the past 20 years I would advise anyone starting out to think about the following three areas:

  • Be confident: It is hard starting in anything, let alone an industry like fintech. Nevertheless, you need to have a strong belief in yourself and what you are doing if you are to stick it out. You will be met by challenges regularly that need to be overcome, and you have to be ready for them. For example, when I started in fintech I was surprised – and still am – about how much complexity there is. What should be simple and straightforward never is. Thanks to legacy technologies, regulations, and legislation, you need to be prepared to push on and not get disheartened when there are bumps in the road. Having confidence in yourself and what you are aiming to do is the fuel that powers you through and solves these obstacles.
  • Get ahead of customers: Everyone talks about putting customers first but few deliver. To provide a great customer experience you must be proactive and get ahead of the customer. Knowing what they want or need before they do themselves allows you to deliver projects that exceed expectations. To do this you have to get to know customers and their businesses on a deeper and more personal level. This is something we instilled in our team at MultiPay as we want to ensure we always deliver a first-class customer experience.
  • Enjoy it: Enjoyment is often overlooked but is the key to success. Fintech is my passion and I enjoy every day that I work in it. In fact, if I could turn the clock back, I would start working in fintech even sooner, it has been such a great journey.

Delia PedersoliAbout the author

Delia is an enthusiastic and outstanding entrepreneur, who has been involved in a number of successful Fintech start-ups in the Card Payments industry.

Delia started her career in the IT sector having completed her MBA at Henley Management College and worked for blue– chip companies including IBM, Xerox and Canon.

In 2006, Delia joined Barclaycard where she successfully implemented the acquiring division in her native country of Italy.

She was Co-Founder of EPS, the first company in the world to be P2PE certified and in 2013 she founded International Payments Services where she built a Fintech payments technology infrastructure, partnering with some major brands.  International Payment Services was acquired in 2017 by an international payments processor and card issuer.


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Fintech needs women – 5 reasons why this is the place to be

Online banking businessman using smartphone with credit card Fintech and Blockchain conceptA recent study cited by a leading Fintech publication found that whilst 30% of the fintech workforce is female, only 17% of senior fintech roles are held by women and just over 5% of founders are women.

These statistics are pretty shocking as Fintech is such a dynamic world of discovery and innovation.

The number of women in Fintech are slowly improving but there are systemic flaws, deep-rooted challenges and biases which persist that create barriers to gender diversity and hindering women’s rise to the top.

Having had extensive experience in mission-driven Fintech and experience, I know how it feels to be a female in such a male dominated environment. I am determined to help open doors for the next generation of women and hope to encourage, coach and mentor females who want to pursue a career in Fintech. I now have a platform from which to do this after recently co-founding a new banking app, Novus, so watch this space.

A common misconception is that the Fintech is ‘boring’ but it is so far from that. It’s such an exciting and dynamic industry to be a part of and here are my 5 reasons why Fintech is the hottest place to be for women in tech:

The UK economy need Fintech

The Fintech industry was initially born as a sub-set of financial services; however, it has continued to evolve and today, the UK owns a 10% global share of the growing sector. No longer a sub-industry, Fintech is a force on its own and a part of everyday life. In 2020 alone, $4.1bn was poured into the sector in the form of investments, with revenues totalling over £11bn. In addition to this, the UK government recently conducted a review to further bolster its support for the industry.

The variety of options are endless

Whether it’s payments, crypto, digital banking or sustainable finance, there are unlimited avenues to explore within Fintech. Market intelligence platform, CB Insights, recently unveiled the third annual ‘Fintech 250’ – a list of 250 of the top private Fintech companies that are using technology to transform financial services and is well worth looking up for further insight. In the UK alone, there are more than 1100 Fintech companies across these sub-categories, each employing thousands of people.

A fast-growing industry

Both the government and the investment industry are working hard to ensure Fintech is set up for success in the years to come. In 2021, the industry is expected to double its previous rate of growth at the very least, maybe more – and this is what makes Fintech a hot place to be right now. It also means that salaries in Fintech are one of the highest across different sectors! In a post-Brexit and post COVID world, the growth of the sector is almost certain to accelerate with the continued digitisation of consumer behaviour.

You can make a difference to individual lives

71% of UK citizens encounter at least one Fintech process in some way, every day. Simple tasks such as paying online for a product or service means a likely interaction with a Fintech company. No matter where you live in the world, you have to deal with financial systems to live your life. The ability to make an impact on the well-being of individuals and families around the world is inspiring and the opportunities to work on such projects are far greater than you might think and are hugely rewarding.

Females are the future of Fintech

Fintech needs women more than ever right now. The diversity numbers within all major Fintech companies, especially in senior leadership levels, are massively lacking. Traditionally, finance has been a highly male dominated environment and unfortunately, Fintech has inherited that flaw. Although many firms have recognised this and are actively trying to pull their male skewed gender ratio to the middle, this needs to be done on a much bigger scale for the sector to see any real change. There is so much room and scope for females in this industry.

Don’t be afraid to get involved - do your homework and dig out those companies who are keen to embrace new females in tech. Co-founding Novus is giving me the opportunity to just that and really start to redress the balance

About the author

Shruti Rai is the Chief Growth Officer and a Co-Founder at Novus, the new sustainable banking app making it easy to generate positive impact from everyday purchases. With extensive experience in mission-driven fintech, Shruti is a purveyor of enabling financial apps for doing good, improving lives and using her position to steward many more women into finance and tech.

 


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Career advice for women looking to get into finance/fintech

Article by Rossana Thomas, Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Payments Platform, Fiserv

woman in tech working on a laptop, onlineIt is an exciting time to be in the financial technology space. Now more than ever, we are witnessing a distinctive move towards a digital society, and it’s my job to help financial institutions and their customers find and establish their unique space.

The financial technology world can seem a very male dominated environment in which to work. However, we’re seeing many more women work their way up in organisations, being active members of senior management teams and sitting on various boards across the industry. With a push for diversity at all angles, and a flurry of new and exciting technologies, now is the perfect time to join this industry.

Below, are some top tips from what I have learnt over my thirty-year career, and hopefully it helps and inspires other women to be part of the dynamic financial services industry.

Step outside of your comfort zone

To me, the biggest piece of advice I can share is, don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone.  That is often where the opportunity is. When looking for job opportunities, do your own investigation and research. Look for internships. Find people in this space and don’t be afraid to ask for advice (LinkedIn is your friend). You don’t always need to look for jobs related to your degree. I graduated with a liberal arts degree in psychology and I found my calling in the financial services industry. Look for jobs and opportunities that pique your interest. It’s good to remember that you may be in this career for a while, so make sure it is something you are passionate about.

Transferrable skills set you apart

Even if you are an expert in technology, you should also develop the skills needed for other business functions. For example, you may be a coder by profession with a strategic and team management role, which will require on the job learning. If you want your career to grow, become an expert in your discipline and then learn transferable skills. Skills such as leadership, business acumen and presentation abilities are as important as your core skills and will help your movement within verticals and industries.

Find a mentor

Internships and mentoring are a huge part of this industry. There are several programmes set up to help support women. Make sure you’re continually cultivating genuine relationships and build a solid network of people and good mentors across disciplines to support and guide you. These will ultimately help you succeed. For me, a good mentor is critical for career progression and success.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here


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Women in Fintech: driving tech for social good

Fintech

It’s a hugely exciting time to be working in Fintech.

Like most sectors, digital innovation is at the top of the agenda in financial services, with many organisations looking for ways to improve and transform their offerings in a disruptive market. Interestingly, traditional banks and financial services providers have been slow to integrate new technology and have struggled to adapt their long-established cultures and ways of working to be more agile and innovative. With this backdrop in mind, Fintech has come to the fore, introducing new ideas and markets, as well as creating new opportunities for women in tech.

Opportunities in Fintech

Whether you’re part of a start-up or a more established company like incuto, the benefits of working in Fintech are numerous. Chances are you’ll be working within an exciting, energetic, fast-paced and fast-growth environment, as part of an organisation where technology is driving the solution on offer, rather than simply supporting a wider operation. Fintechs can offer significant opportunities to progress, gain responsibility and really take ownership of particular projects and initiatives. It’s also likely you’ll be closer to customers than you would be in a larger organisation.

It does, of course, pay to have experience behind you if you’re aiming for a leadership role. My own career trajectory started with a degree in Computer Science, closely followed by my first role as a developer for a start-up based in San Francisco. I went on to take up a new role in Dublin, working on c++ and java PKI toolkit for a start-up which went on to float on both the FTSE and NASDAQ – a great learning experience for me of going through accelerated growth.

From there, I became testing and deployment lead for an NHS SPINE project in Leeds. This move to a large organisation running one of the biggest projects in Europe provided me with experience of working on a large, complicated and multi-faceted system. Taking on the CTO role at incuto has allowed me to effectively use my skills and experiences to lead a team and create a strategy to support growth.

There are, however, numerous other routes and opportunities for women with an ambition to work in Fintech. At incuto, we encourage applications from a wide range of candidates for our development team, from school leavers through to experienced developers with 30 or more years’ of experience. In addition, we regularly take work experience students from our local schools to encourage young people to consider a career in IT. We’re also proud to be one of the growing number of Fintechs based outside of London, so opportunities for candidates outside the capital are on the up.

Fintech for credit unions

Our own technology serves credit unions, community banks and CDFIs (community development finance institutions). It enables these institutions to better serve their communities and, perhaps most importantly, take on the poverty premium paid by a large portion of the UK population when it comes to loans and banking services.

14 million people in the UK pay more for goods and services simply because they are from poorer households, and many of these end up turning to unscrupulous payday lenders for support. It is well publicised by organisations like the End High Cost Credit Alliance and Debt Hacker, that these types of loans and the continued financial burden they put on individuals and families can cause ongoing hardship for years to come.

The key to tackling the poverty premium in financial services must lie with those organisations who can offer fairer, more ethical approaches to banking and lending. Credit unions are perfectly placed to take on this role. However, there continue to be a number of significant stumbling blocks for these organisations to reaching the individuals they seek to serve.

For example, credit unions often offer their members limited branch networks (some have no more than two branches servicing a given geographical area), plus they are struggling with legacy technology and paper-based systems which make their service extremely slow and inaccessible. Traditionally members have had to physically go into a branch to either withdraw or pay in money using only their membership number.

Our technology is designed to open up the services credit unions can offer and give access to a wider audience through technology. incuto has also introduced better branch access via partnerships with wider networks, plus a debit card (rather than simply a Membership number) allowing the financially excluded to access additionally services at the same price as the wider population, plus better online access and automation.

Innovative technology for financial inclusion

Like all organisations, credit unions must innovate and transform the service they offer Members. And it’s not just about enabling people to apply online in a faster and more efficient way, it’s about financial freedom and access to services and the same level of interaction and engagement that they would receive from a high-street or online bank.

It’s very rewarding to be part of a Fintech which is genuinely trying to help tackle the poverty premium and lift individuals out of poverty through fairer banking and financial education. Tech for social good offers a fantastic opportunity for women in tech, whether they are starting out or have experience to offer, and the need for this technology has never been more important.

Jen AndersonAbout the author

Jen Anderson, CTO, incuto.

Jen gained experience delivering projects in both tech start - ups and major change programmes in NHS. Recognised in top 100 CTOs in 2019, Jen is gaining prominence as a strong voice in the Tech for Good ecosystem.