How can crypto firms win over the most sought after talent in a highly competitive space?
Ahead of Bitcoin 2022 in Miami, we caught up with Ashton Morlote, Matthew Healy and Chris Schwuchow to discuss the strategies firms could be using to help win over talent, as well as transferable skills to look out for, and how the industry could shape up over the next 12 months.
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What talent strategies would you recommend to businesses to differentiate themselves against other players in winning talent?
Chris – “In the interview process it is really important to move quickly. Candidates in more traditional spaces are being paid out their bonuses right now, so they are keen to move on sharply, and right now cryptocurrency certainly has the most buzz around it.
“Candidates are getting multiple offers coming in because the market is so hot, and competition for talent has never been bigger. So streamlining your interview process is a strategy I would recommend, especially as some processes are taking under two weeks now. I work with businesses to help them bring the interview time down, and get offers out faster too.”
Matt – “Something else that is important in helping businesses differentiate themselves against other players to win talent is exactly that, differentiating themselves. We need to explain the ‘why’, and what I mean by this is why this company? What are the USP’s of working for this firm compared to another. Candidates right now need to buy into the company culture and brand, and when there are so many new firms popping up in this space disrupting traditional finance, having strong USP’s could help you stand out amongst other competitors.
“Also you can be part of setting those USP’s, creating those exciting projects from scratch. In a newer business, you have the chance to really stamp your name on things, and we have seen that ownership play a major factor for some candidates when deciding between more leaner, younger firms compared to traditional players.”
Chris – “On another note, it’s going to be interesting to see the types of retention strategies coming into play to keep talent. Quant is a booming market, so retention is actually pretty good, but things such as equity can help keep a candidate settled for longer. Good compensation and a strong bonus always helps too, but equity can lock them in for longer.”
Ashton – “From the very start, setting expectations I believe is crucial to retain talent. Setting up timeframes on when they will certain compensation levels and the types of projects they’ll be working on all help build a picture, and keep employees coming back for more. The cryptocurrency space is full of curious minds, so being transparent on what the next quarter, half and full year may entail can help candidates not only on board but stay on board. Retention planning starts from day one.”
Chris – “Candidates coming from more of a traditional finance background are impressed with the flexibility newer fintech’s and crypto firms offer. Often their current firms are keen to get them back into the office, sometimes full-time, which isn’t for every candidate. Crypto tends to be a lot more casual, and that’s a benefit it has in locking in talent.
Because of this flexibility, quant talent looking at moving into crypto can often work from anywhere, widening the talent pool for employers. Crypto is a 24/7 market, so having talent in different geographies is another added benefit to firms, and gives them more talent to choose from.”
The crypto space is a relatively new and growing area for quant finance – where can firms look to for transferable skills to fill the talent gap?
Ashton – “The talent is typically coming from larger proprietary trading firms and large quant shops. It does of course depend on the firm, but we see candidates coming from across finance and beyond, with direct transferable skills. For example, a product crypto firm could look to tech firms for talent.”
Chris – “Options, futures, trading – anywhere market trading basically is where firms can see talent coming from. We are seeing a lot of candidates from more product focused backgrounds making the move.”
How can tackling bigger, societal issues such as ED&I and ESG assist with talent attraction and retention?
Chris – “Often these firms are quite lean as it is a relatively new area of finance, but as the space grows and grows, there will be more diverse talent pools moving forward. For bigger firms there are metrics in place to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion is taken seriously.
“And as already mentioned, a widening talent pool geographically due to more flexibility means that employees can be based overseas in various locations, and this can be really exciting for talent to come together from all backgrounds.”
How do you see this market developing over the next 12 months?
Matt – “We foresee more institutional adoption over the next year, with more firms building out this key area. The competition for talent has never been bigger, and there’s going to be even more explosive growth as capital into this new firms continues. Talent is also incredibly interested in moving now as well.
“Tailwinds are a lot stronger too due to institutional investors, so there is a lot more of a mature market. Growth is very much there and will continue. Big banks are building out their trading desks and incorporating digital assets into the teams, which is a testament to the crypto space and it’s exponential growth.”
Attending Bitcoin 2022 in Miami? Arrange a quick introduction with Ashton, Matthew and Chris Schwuchow by filling in the form below . If you’re not attending but still keen to understand talent trends across cryptocurrency and quant, either as a candidate considering a new role, or as a hiring manager with roles to fill, please get in touch.
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