After a long hiatus from attending in-person events, I traveled to New York City for LendIt 2022. I have to admit I was a bit nervous beforehand. Would I remember how to do this? Should I go for the handshake or just a casual “what’s up?” nod? As it turned out, most people were in full hug mode! It was the perfect event to re-enter the world of trade shows. Discussions around crypto, DeFi, and digital banking and how these affect financial institutions are essential, but as an Executive Search professional, I was fielding questions about the job market.
Biggest questions being asked in the field:
- Are companies still hiring executives right now?
- Are there any pullbacks or reductions in staff starting to happen?
- Do current market conditions create talent opportunities?
The answers, respectively, are yes, yes, and yes!
Executive hiring is still very active within lower-middle-market companies. We are starting to see some hiring freezes and reductions in force, but mainly at earlier-stage venture-backed companies and non-executive levels. There will no doubt be arbitrage opportunities as it relates to talent. Some public company executives and others from venture-backed companies may shift their attention to the PE-backed sector, where companies may have a higher likelihood of success in this market. As we all know, a tremendous amount of private capital needs to be put to work. There will be a continued need for top executives to drive growth and scale.
Event Themes: Consumers expect the “Amazon Experience.” FinTechs and financial institutions need to provide seamless and simplistic experiences for table stakes in this market. It has become an expectation rather than “nice to have.”
Regulation: Expanded use of technology, growing user/client groups, and new financial instruments (i.e., digital assets) lead to new and augmented regulatory governance. It at least appears that regulators are trying to lean into this wave of innovation and collaborate with FinTechs, but the results remain to be seen.
Identity Management: With the prevalence of mobile and online solutions related to investing, moving money, and e-commerce, there is an increased risk of fraud and other financial crime types. Validating identities and the credentials of counterparties is one of the hottest and most important segments of the FinTech market right now.
Access to Data: APIs and other means of obtaining public and proprietary data sets (ex: payroll data) are critical factors in helping banks and lenders drive more efficient underwriting processes and reach more potential customers.
PropTech (aka Property/Real Estate Technology): Home prices have skyrocketed, and inflation is rising as rates increase. This is against a complex backdrop of investing and accessing real estate (i.e., buying a home). Now more than ever, there are many marketplaces and alternative financing solutions that provide transparency to investors and attempt to create a more seamless and enjoyable experience for renters and home buyers.
Reach out to talk about the changing market and your hiring needs.