Soho to the City: A Tale of Two Sectors

By Melina Jacovou, CEO – Founder of Propel
Follow @MelinaJacovou 

While staffing the digital economy since 2001 one thing I have learned over that seventeen-year period is that the same cycles of hype always surround new tech developments. I’ve learned over those years to always take a deep breath and look beyond the hyperbole and make sure we understand how the implementation of new technology will affect a market sector. This is something we’ve thought carefully about as we have become more and more active in the Fintech sector.

Let me explain and use adtech as an example. One of the great fallacies about adtech was that this new approach to buying and selling digital media was going to mean the end of traditional media sales people. Publishers would be able to make great efficiencies in this area and save a great deal of money. Of course, what happened was a very different thing. What we saw was that instead of staff numbers falling, publishers actually needed to recruit people with different skills and experience.

You can see the same situation developing in the financial services sector as fintech becomes more and more prevalent. Yes, the rise of technology in the sector will mean that there will be reduction in certain roles. However, we can already see that fintech is actually creating new roles, just with a different skill set required. And, as we know from our experience in the media world, technology evolves roles that still require a human touch, not eliminate them. The roles get redefined rather than reduced.

What we will also see, as has already been seen in adtech, is that there will be a skills shortage and that that the battle to secure the right talent will become a fierce one. It’s already becoming apparent that the large e-commerce companies will get closer and closer to the business and skills required for financial services. Inevitably, this will mean that that the best talent will be in short supply.

As in the media world, a massive area of growth will be data . We’ve already seen that fintech firms can provide a solution for large financial institutions’ failure to make the most of the vast quantities of data they generate. But data expertise is still likely to move between smaller fintech firms, larger financial services organisations but also to brands and agencies.

Financial markets generate a vast quantity of data and many financial institutions lack the tools, experience and expertise to properly aggregate and analyse this. Those with that expertise can expect to be well rewarded.