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Preview: The Headcount Fintech Salary Survey 2021

Looking to benchmark your salary in payments or fintech? Need to know the ‘market rate’ for employing payments, fintech or specialist talent?

Good news if you do, because this January, Headcount in partnership with The Fintech Times will be publishing the industry’s most comprehensive fintech and payments salary survey, giving you details of specific job pay rates, global talent market insight and industry-specific guidance for both professional candidates and employers.

Can’t wait until then? Neither can we. So today we’re publishing a ‘sneak peak’ with Neill Butcher, Chief Commercial Officer of Headcount, who is previewing some of the survey headlines and sharing Headcount’s outlook for 2021.

Average Fintech & Payments Salaries 2020-21

In Headcount’s capacity as a specialist fintech and payments recruitment consultancy, our data provides a clear picture of salary rates in the sector.

Notes on the data: Rates are based on 446 Headcount job roles active between January and October 2020, with global currencies converted to £GBP and some C-Level salaries excluded to minimise distortion. 

To get specific salary ranges for individual job roles, and in different geographic regions, check back for the publication of the full report in January.

For now, here are some of the key trends we’re seeing in salary rates:

  • Commercial executives, particularly with credentials and networks in payments, are commanding a high premium. On top of average £70-110k+ salaries, top-tier talent will be looking for generous commission schemes.
  • Product roles are, by nature of their leadership function, higher up the payscale. The £70-90k average is a reflection of how central to commercial success product strategy is, and we expect this rate will likely rise further in 2021.
  • Tech specialists are seen as ‘critical hires’. In fact, there was barely a moment’s reprise in 2020 hiring despite Covid-19. The lower banding of £50-80k is a strong reflection of offshoring (often nearshoring, for example to Eastern European countries) where talent is more accessible and rates are currently lower.
  • Regulatory and compliance specialists, including AML and fraud officers are increasingly well remunerated at £70-90k average, although understandably legal expertise comes at an additional premium, increasing salaries to £90-110k+. With regulatory intensity growing worldwide, most noticeably in payments, demand is likely to keep rates high.
  • Across the board, pay rates in fintech and payments remained remarkably resilient in 2020, despite all its disruption. There are limits to how fast salary levels can increase (particularly for startups and scaleups, whose resources are tightly limited), but competition for talent in 2021 will likely push salaries higher still.

Our 2021 Outlook For Employers

The hottest hires of 2021 will be in tech or regulation, where competition is fierce. Across the board, demand for fintech talent far outstrips supply.

Rapid evolution is required for success in payments, and when the right skills aren’t immediately to hand, this can be painful – sometimes critically so.

Scarcity of talent may further inflate salaries in the coming year, but this isn’t always tenable for start-ups and scale-ups. Instead, many will need to fish further afield – outside industry, or at more junior levels.

Every ‘emerging trend’ has its corresponding ‘talent demand’. Taking crypto mainstream? Now’s the time to identify talent pools (hint: CIS region). Ambition for frictionless payments? You’ll need a strategy to attract designers and technologists from within and beyond Fintech. Expecting expansions to regulation? Get compliance, fraud, KYC and AML specialists in the pipeline now.

In short, employers need to consider ‘talent strategy’ as a core part of their overall business strategy. The market is so competitive, and the impact so critical, that talent cannot be treated as an after-thought.

Fintech & Payments Talent Market Trends

Earlier this year, Headcount surveyed business leaders in fintech and payments asking “what next?” for talent in 2021 after everything the past year has thrown at us.

Here are some of the key trends we gathered from their responses:

  • 47% Forecast “Workforce Growth” in 2021
    Pre-Covid, this number was much higher (82%), but “significant” growth remains the plan for 20%
  • 83% Of Employees Worked Remotely
    As the whole world turned to Zoom, fintech was no exception – but the long-term remains unclear
  • Zero Redundancies Or Furloughs Made By 61%
    The majority of fintech businesses made no reductions, whilst a small minority in hard-hit sub-sectors made significant cutbacks
  • 60% Made Hires Remotely This Year
    Travel restrictions and social distancing slowed (but didn’t stop) hiring and staff onboarding
  • “Hiring high-quality talent” The #02 Biggest Concern
    Only “uncertain market demand” ranked higher as a strategic concern for businesses


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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