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Diversity in Fintech

Our Managing Director talks diversity in the industry after Everywoman nominations are submitted

I was extremely humbled, to recently find out that I’ve been nominated for a leadership award by my colleagues at Cloud8. Aside from feeling an awkward mix of pride and appreciation at reading about their view of my career. When they shared their submission with me, I was particularly struck by some of the figures they’d included. Whilst it wasn’t a surprise given my own experience, to read that fintech brings together two of the least gender-diverse industries, the actual numbers of women working in fintech (30%) and women holding senior roles (17%) were considerably smaller than I had at first considered.

Those who know me will also know that my interest in this area goes further than gender. I’m a young, working mum from the BAME community, who did not have a socioeconomic advantage during my education. Taking up the role of managing director of a scale-up fintech company highlights two things…

Firstly, my belief is that through industry experience, determination, and the support of mentors and allies it is possible to reach your goals and work at the highest level of the fintech industry.

But secondly, that if the fintech industry is to grow in line with the UK’s ambitions, we must do more to ensure that we increase representation across our workforce. 

 

Diversity in the news

Ron Kalifa OBE’s 2021  The Khalifa review focuses on UK fintech – highlighting ‘skills’ as one of the five key recommendations within businesses. He noted that 67% of the UK’s fastest-growing fintechs consider talent to be a high priority. 

It would have been helpful throughout my career to have had mentors who celebrated differences, rather than ones who advised on how things need to be, aspiring to the leaders at the time – who did not resonate with anything I was and am. Often it’s the unsaid that stops people from staying and succeeding in some sectors as success does not reflect or look like, them.

Whilst people are the key to innovation, building the ‘pipeline of fintech talent’ that is recommended in the review, will require more than ‘retraining and upskilling adults’ and ‘providing opportunities to young people’. As an industry, we need to demonstrate that we are representative of the UK’s digitally-active community and can respond to their needs and requirements. And we can only do this if we take an intersectional view and make the opportunities highlighted in the review available and ready to be grabbed by ALL adults and ALL young people – regardless of their gender, race, class – or indeed any of the dimensions of diversity that reflect our society.

In the review’s introduction, John Glen MP, economic secretary to the Treasury notes that ‘there is no doubt that there is real transformative potential to be found at the point where financial services and technology collide. Today over 70% of digitally active adults in the UK use a fintech service – well above the global average.”  

Summary

With this in mind, I have confidence that we are ready to lead the charge – I’m excited about the future role that UK fintech will play on the global stage and the steps that I, and my fellow fintech leaders, can take to shape the future of diversity and inclusion within our industry.