London on track to become global fintech hub, new report finds

09-Apr-2019

This year, London will be home to just as many fintech ‘unicorns’ as current global leader San Francisco – according to a new report from global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft.

Of the 29 fintech unicorns* worldwide (*companies worth more than $1bn), nine are in San Francisco, while seven are housed in the UK.

E-money firms (as defined by the FCA) grew by 51% between 2017 to 2018, and it is predicted that by 2020 over half of payment service providers in the UK will be digital-only.

In fact, the city has firmly cemented itself within Europe with over a third (39%) of European venture capital funding going to London fintechs. That is almost double any other city in Europe - Berlin (21%), Paris (18%), Stockholm (5%), Barcelona (4%), Amsterdam (4%), Zurich (3%), Copenhagen (2%) and Dublin (2%).

James Murray, director of financial services at Robert Walters said: “When spotlighting the UK’s leading fintech unicorns, the income growth they have achieved over the past twelve months is phenomenal - increasing from a combined £77.1m to £177.6m revenue. That’s a revenue growth of 130% in just one year!”

Such is the growth of the industry, that in 2018 job creation within the fintech space increased by 61% - making it the fastest growing sector in the London economy.

And the benefits were not just felt in the capital, last year the fintech boom created an 18% uplift in job creation in regions outside of London.

Ahsan Iqbal, director of technology at Robert Walters said: “IT continues to dominate the hiring agenda for fintechs, with a third (30%) of roles within the sector dedicated to tech. In 2018, we saw IT vacancies within the fintech space increase by 74% when compared with 2017.

“The increase in demand for IT talent - coupled with Brexit-related concerns - poses the risk of stifling the talent pool. As a result, we are already starting to see salary inflations for IT professionals of around 6-8% - and some pretty impressive buy-back and counter offers.”

As well as IT, the most in-demand roles within fintech continue to be Marketing and PR. However those professions that have seen the biggest spike in recruitment (in most cases a 100% increase since 2017) are HR, Accounting and Business Support roles. 

Since 2017, hiring within the fintech space has also increased for banking (48%), law (40%), insurance (16%), and sales (16%) roles.