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The most in-demand fintech employees aren't AI engineers

You can't take two steps out of your front door without someone bringing up AI in 2023. In the fintech industry, it’s naturally an area many are exploring but, from a hiring perspective, the Chat-GPT boom really isn’t that big a deal.

At the 2023 Sifted Summit, Louisa Süsserott, head of talent advisory at VC firm Cherry Ventures, said she is “not seeing a high demand for AI and data people beyond what was already there.” While AI seems like a hot new thing, she says, “it was always in there in your data teams.”

What many think when it comes to AI these days is the exciting research done by companies like Anthropic and OpenAI. Fintech doesn’t have the luxury of working in that space in this difficult funding environment.

The funding crash meant “whole teams had been working on very large projects that never saw the light of day,” says Süsserott. “They never got to deliver what they’ve been working on.” She says that the “frivolous projects” of yesteryear are no longer happening and, given the massive salaries these AI researchers are offered elsewhere, most fintechs choose not to compete.

So… what’s kind of employee are fintechs actually looking for? “We’re particularly short on really good designers,” says Süsserott. “They’re in high demand.” 

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Fintechs also need people for 'go-to-market process,' a role which is evolving. Süsserott says fintechs want “people that have actually gone out there, done it and know the market conditions.” Given the newness of fintech, she says “there used to be a lot of smart people that were just thrown in there, now there’s people with more experience.”

An area that is far from in-demand, but that perhaps should be, is finance. Süsserott says finance teams consist of “maybe six or seven people, they can be very under the kosh.”

One summit attendee experienced this firsthand. “I came into a company that existed for about 2 and a half years already as its first finance manager,” he said. “The day I came in, I thought to myself ‘how do you still even exist?’”

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Photo by Jasper Garratt on Unsplash

AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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