Big Picture Fintech UK Insights Trends

Financial technology industry calls for clarity on immigration policy as new research reveals potential for 30,000 new jobs

  • Sector set to top 100,000 employees by the year 2030 with 30,000 new jobs created.
  • FinTech sector highly dependent on global talent with 42% of employees from outside the UK 28% drawn from the European Economic Area.
  • Failure to maintain a flexible immigration policy could harm the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business and a shortfall in highly-skills works, leading to a potential loss of £361m to the UK FinTech sector.
  • Innovate Finance calls for further coordinated action on accessing global talent and at the same time developing local skills to ensure a workforce fit for the future.

Innovate Finance, the independent membership association that represents the UK’s global FinTech community, alongside WPI Economics, today releases a report on the potential effects on the UK FinTech sector of future changes to the country’s immigration policy.

The report provides new insight on the scope of the UK FinTech sector which currently represents 76,500 employees of whom 42% are from overseas (28% from EEA countries, and 14% from non-EEA countries).

The report also forecasts that on current performance the sector is set to grow to more than 100,000 employees, and the number of UK FinTech companies more than double to 3,300, by the year 2030.

However, 82% of companies say they already face difficulties in recruiting non-EEA migrants. Under the most likely scenario for future immigration policy, in which the system for EEA migrants moves closer to that for non-EEA migrants, the report predicts a shortfall of 3,200 highly-skilled workers by 2030, at a cost to the UK FinTech sector of £361m.

Innovate Finance is proposing six policy principles as a foundation to develop a proportionate policy response and mitigate the impact of uncertainty on the FinTech sector, including the need to redefine the meaning of “highly-skilled” worker in today’s global jobs market.

Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of Innovate Finance said: 

“Access to talent is a perennial issue, and one which affects all sectors of our economy. This is not in light of Brexit, but Brexit shines a light on it and risks exacerbating the issue further.

Without a flexible approach, the UK FinTech sector stands to lose its global pre-eminence with FinTech companies already facing challenges in recruiting appropriate skills and talent. However, the potential size of the loss has not yet come to pass and if managed correctly, may not materialise.

It is up to policy-makers, industry and academia to propose sensible recommendations to mitigate the impact of these findings and to ensure sectors such as FinTech continue to be an engine for UK innovation and growth”.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation added: 

“As the financial services sector increasingly turns to technology to shape its future, it’s essential that the UK is able to attract international talent to unlock the full potential of this thriving industry.”

“This data shows that more than one in four FinTech workers hail from the EU or EEA.

“This shines a spotlight on the urgent need to clarify an immigration policy for European workers ahead of the UK’s departure from the bloc in March next year.

“The sector’s growth and technological entrepreneurialism depend on it.”

Niels Turfboer, managing director, Spotcap

“There is a danger that access to skilled workers from Europe will be reduced after March 2019, which puts talent on everyone’s radar. The fintech sector, academia and the government are all trying to find ways to plug the growing skills gap, but we can achieve more if everyone collaborates with each other.”

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