The race to attract and retain the best talent is well and truly on in the world of finance.
Offering the right packages to the world’s technologists was always a big challenge when it came to retaining the best workers. This seems to prove the case for major traders and associates as well.
As in all industries, a few key players at the very top of the rankings tend to attract the bulk of talent.
A little more than ten years ago, banking and finance were the essential sectors if you were looking for a stable salary, attractive conditions and a pleasant working environment.
However, a lot has changed in the world of finance in the meantime, and decentralized finance, or DeFi, technology has, alongside cryptocurrencies, forced banks to struggle to remain leaders in the financial world.
Since 2014, crypto investment firms have been welcoming and attracting top talent from many industries. This could spell trouble for traditional banks trying to attract young talent as the workforce embraces crypto and DeFi protocols to get involved in perhaps more complicated but more innovative projects and ventures.
An unmissable opportunity
Christopher Perkins, chairman of Coinfund, was an American sailor for nine years before establishing the main derivatives business at Lehman Brothers, at the epicenter of the global financial crash.
After taking on a new challenge at Citigroup as global co-head of futures, clearing and foreign exchange, Perkins was at the top of his game with more than 700 direct and indirect reports.
It was at this precise moment that he decided to leave.
“I left at the top of my game because I couldn’t ignore the opportunity I saw. I started looking at blockchain in 2015,” he said.
“I looked and studied, doing my due diligence. I started to touch, feel and taste the technology. It made me start thinking.
“Then you realize you have to unlearn and rethink. If we’re being intellectually honest with ourselves, the global financial crisis was caused by a concentration of risk in a handful of players.”
In his new role, Perkins reinforces CoinFund’s reputation as a leading digital and traditional asset finance company. He believes that a wide range of people from all walks of life is needed for the space to thrive.
“Diversity is needed in this space. You need a lot of different disciplines,” he added. “If you have the same type of people, you get the same results every time.”
Employees see their future in digital
The struggle to secure talent or attract suitable candidates to crypto businesses may have been difficult in the past, but in the age of digital financial services, it is attracting talent to the industry.
With over 68 million active blockchain wallet addresses and a fully-fledged ecosystem and layers of new funds and financial services to offer clients, it has become a no-brainer for anyone diving headfirst into the world of trading or enjoy getting involved in designing and building financial products and learning new technical skills.
After doing his due diligence and speaking with some of the world’s top asset managers, Haydn Hammond, Sales Director at Invictus Capital, knew he could bridge the gap between banking and crypto.
“Most of my clients wanted a trusted advisor in the space,” he said. “I had already built a strong investment portfolio with a calculated risk approach. The crypto industry is changing at an incredible rate and I’m learning so much.”
Rather than lamenting the past, organizations need to think creatively about the future needs of employees.
“Over the past two years, we have seen a strong shift in demand for the roles we are looking for candidates for. Traditional investment analysts see the opportunities that exist in crypto and understandably want a piece of the action” , Hammond said.
Crypto Firms Offer Flexibility
A fast-paced, diverse, and challenging pace may seem intimidating to some, but to others it offers the opportunity to learn quickly and tap into different skill sets for varied projects.
“I’m a builder, I love to build,” Perkins noted. “Understanding risk management and taking really quick and decisive action is at the heart of what I know how to do.”
It can also be said that crypto companies have been the main advocates of the hybrid workforce. Even before COVID-19 forced executives to work remotely, companies had begun to embrace the hybrid working model with increased flexibility for employees.
“We are no longer limited by physical office space. The digital world has given us the freedom to work from anywhere and in any time zone. The new benefits to attract talent will revolve around flexibility, virtual team building events and employee empowerment,” Hammond says.
You could say that crypto has matured in the world of remote work, so it has had time to ensure that productivity levels remain high.
He’s also played a big role in urging executives to consider their options and look for ways to make working from home more flexible. By contrast, employees in banking are often restricted by traditional work codes of conduct: 9 a.m. check-out, one hour for lunch, 15 minutes for coffee.
For today’s modern businesses, these rules no longer apply. This lack of a regulated work structure isn’t for everyone, but a flexible approach seems to be part of the future and most forward-looking companies have embraced this shift in employee needs.
Not only is the industry a remote industry, but many founders, employees, and organizations working in the industry never worked in corporate headquarters before COVID-19.
Ignoring the nuances that existed, the rules that applied to lunch breaks or office dress, the world of decentralized finance offers more freedom in time, style and place.
Having access to a skilled workforce is key to staying on top in any industry, so there is a battle over who can attract and retain the best.
After jumping with two feet in space, Perkins admits he wishes he had done it sooner.
The general trend seems to be that as long as crypto firms embrace the new world of decentralized finance, with all the disruption and opportunity it brings, they will continue to attract the interest of traditional banking executives.