It’s been hailed as the UK’s biggest and exciting growth sector, and if you are a bit of a geek with a love for numbers and the idea of Financial Wellbeing (like I am); you’ll definitely want in. I am talking about FinTech and no one is more excited about London FinTech Week, which takes place this month, than I am… ok, maybe one or two of you, but it would be a tough call.
There has never been a better time to be taking the lead and actively championing more diversity and encouraging more women into this exciting and innovative sector. We should all be less about the “talking about” and more of the “being about” it. As a woman in a senior position in the best FinTech company in town, Neyber – yes I can say that as I believe it to be true; I think it is crucial to address the fact that diversity fuels innovation and inspires the creation of products that meet the needs of people from across the spectrum. But this can only be achieved if a business’ workforce is as diverse and representative of the communities it wishes to serve and is inclusive from the very beginning of the recruiting process.
Globalisation has ensured access to talent and new opportunities from all parts of the world. In order for FinTech to continue to thrive, it is imperative that the talent requisition process within trailblazing disruptive businesses, embraces all the opportunities recruiting a diverse workforce provides. Failure to acknowledge or act on this, will only deny these businesses access to all the knowledge, creativity, experience and different perspective they would have otherwise had. In today’s competitive world, that is a loss no business can take – to borrow a quote from our Co-Founder and CTO, Ezechi Britton.
HR practitioners within this very exciting sector, have very important roles to play in being ambassadors and champions for inclusion and diversity. It is not acceptable to just focus on people, policies and procedures, we should be informed and equally excited about being in FinTech.
Neyber currently has 58 members of staff – 64% of which are male and 36% of which are female – and our diversity stats as featured in Innovate Finance’s Celebrating Diversity in FinTech – Spotlight on Innovate Finance Members Closing the Diversity Gap in FinTech, clearly shows, we are very much about the being about it while championing and promoting it and this feeds into the heart of what we are striving to do – creating better communities. Inclusion starts from the top down and diversity should be evident not just on paper, but in practice. For example, our board, founding team and senior leaders are multi-ethnic and have women included, such as Monica Kalia, one of the co-founders of Neyber, who is very much an advocate for more to be done to inspire women to consider a career in FinTech.
As one of the UK’s fledging industries, FinTech can set an example for other disruptive industries to follow. Visible actions such as hiring more women in leadership positions, and operating with a more transparent approach to equality in the recruitment process will help to ensure everybody feels welcome and wants to work in the industry. And there are a number of reasons why more women should consider a career in FinTech:
- To empower other women – Don’t underestimate the importance of peer support. Feeling that you have solidarity amongst a peer group, or even a female role model, can go a long way in career development, and we can do more to ensure this is the norm. Offering training, especially in sought after digital skills, will help to empower women in a typically male-dominated space – and if you think this might be a tall order, last year’s coolest person in FinTech was Eileen Burbridge MBE of Passion Capital; and that list, features quite a few women.
- Financial Wellbeing – Financial managers and IT directors are in the top 10 highest paid jobs of 2015; it can be a successful long-term career. However, more work must be done to encourage girls to choose STEM based subjects in school that should assist them in creating a career within this rewarding sector, to ensure that it does not become a male-dominated sector.
- Impossible is nothing – Knowledge really is key. FinTech is a challenging but very innovative and creative space where ideas are welcome. The very existence of the industry is because someone somewhere thought, “this could be better! I want to show them how it can be better”. Race, gender, etc – these all become irrelevant as what matters is what you know, how you intend to provide a solution, and what you dream of achieving.
So be a champion for diversity, be about inclusion, do your diversity stats add up? We are very proud of ours – can you say the same?
By Rosemary Hewat (Assoc. CIPD), Senior HR Business Partner at Neyber