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ETHNIC DIVERSITY IN UK FINTECH

Exploring the role and participation of ethnic minorities in UK Fintech

In partnership with

 

Introduction

To date there has been sparse quantitative evidence developed to answer the question, what is the level of ethnic diversity in UK fintech, and to what extent have Black, Asian, and people from underrepresented backgrounds progressed in fintech careers?

The purpose of this research is to better understand the role and participation of under-represented communities across the UK fintech landscape, to build a new evidence base, and to provide insights into the range of individuals’ related experiences.

We have used the latest AI technology to produce new insights into the UK fintech workforce. We make no pretence to have reached every single employee. There will naturally be limitations to this method, and nuances of individual circumstances may have been harder to capture.

The current absence of available granular data across the different verticals of fintech however, particularly on people from under-represented groups, makes it difficult to track the composition of the fintech workforce in order to help target (and subsequently measure) the impact of fintech D&I initiatives. The findings presented here are the start of changing that. We hope it will be the starting point for further research on this topic, and encourage the collection and analysis of more granular data in the future, so that we can dive deeper and explore underlying structural or cultural conditions affecting under-represented communities in UK fintech.

We want to shine a light on this important area and start conversations. We want to produce actionable insights that will encourage meaningful change and develop the best possible ways to accelerate the participation and progression of those with so much more to offer.

The Kalifa Review of UK Fintech (2021) also highlighted the ongoing diversity and inclusivity challenges within UK fintech, with recommendations on skills, access to global talent and strengthening the domestic pipeline. We hope this report can contribute to the targeted implementation of considerations in the Kalifa Review by setting out an evidence base to build on over coming months and to enable informed action.

 

Forewords

Eileen Burbidge

Chair of Fintech Delivery Panel and Partner, Passion Capital

Supported by HM Treasury and powered by Tech Nation, the Fintech Delivery Panel develops collaborative initiatives to strengthen the UK fintech ecosystem, help fintechs achieve scale, and create an innovative environment for further developments to the benefit of consumers.

Evidence shows that companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to produce products that cater to a more diverse audience, yield higher revenues, be more innovative, and attract better talent. They benefit from a diversity of thinking which is a key catalyst for fueling business growth and creating a fairer society. Yet there remains untapped potential for the UK fintech ecosystem to further encompass a broader range of individuals.

I’m delighted that the Fintech Delivery Panel has been able to undertake and share this research as a first step in understanding where the greatest challenges arise, allowing for more targeted action to address this in the future. I look forward to exploring the data, reading the experiences and reflections of those colleagues from under-represented communities, and working together on the next steps to promote greater diversity and inclusion across the sector.

Ahmed Badr

Chief Legal & Risk Officer, GoCardless

As Co-Chair of the Fintech Delivery Panel Diversity working group, I strongly believe a diverse team provides diverse perspectives which ultimately drive better results. That’s why I’m passionate about driving changes to increase the participation of underrepresented groups throughout the sector. 

Whilst I can’t speak for those from all backgrounds, I can share my experience as the son of an Egyptian father and English mother - a child who grew up in the north of England as one of very few “ethnically diverse” individuals in my peer group. Parental encouragement into the sciences and medicine proved short-lived in efficacy when I moved away from my original studies to pursue my true interest - business and technology. Through studying business and working in start-ups, I built a strong network in the tech space, and after a zig-zag into law school and the ‘stamp of approval’ of a training contract at Allen & Overy, I moved back into tech at Microsoft, before moving on to fintech. It’s not what you’d call a straightforward path, but one that I feel has provided me with varied experiences and viewpoints. 

My current position is testament to where you can go with a mix of determination, a good network, and a tour of duty at a large corporate. But for those starting out in their careers from underrepresented communities today, it would be understandable to feel intimidated by the lack of visible role models or the lack of guidance to navigate the seemingly complex world of tech or financial services.

It’s great to see more companies (including GoCardless) beginning to collect diversity data, creating and hiring for roles specifically dedicated to promoting D&I, and focusing on improving diversity generally, such as working to reduce bias in the recruitment process and implementing mentoring and promotion process changes.

However, in order to move the needle on diversity in our industry, we need coordinated action. For that action to be most effective, and to achieve the outcome of better participation from underrepresented groups, it needs to be targeted. For it to be targeted, we need to better understand the current make-up of the fintech workforce. 

We didn’t want to let ‘perfect’ stand in the way of building this data foundation, so what we present here contributes to the baseline. Whilst I’m fascinated by the results, I’m most excited about the opportunities the ensuing discussion will bring for collective, impactful action.

 

Key statistics

  • At 20% fintech has a marginally higher proportion of employees from Black, Asian and people from other underrepresented groups than the tech sector as a whole (15.2%), and nearly double that of the UK labour market where the figure is 11.8% for all occupations.
  • Ethnic diversity in fintech has increased from 12% in 2011 to 20% in 2021. However, the proportion of Black people working in fintech has remained static, at 3.1%, while the proportion of Asian people, and people from other underrepresented groups has increased.
  • Of the early careers population 77% were White, 12% Asian and 3% Black. The population with five to ten years experience rose to 81% White, 10% Asian and 3% Black. With ten to fifteen years experience minority representation fell to 11% people from other ethnic minorities and 8% Black, and Asian people with more than fifteen years experience. This implies the proportion of Black, Asian and people from other underrepresented groups drops from early careers to senior executives and C suite populations.
  • Across all employees, 39% of all those identified had come from financial services as a prior industry. 22% came from IT and Services. 
  • London has the highest proportion of Black and Asian people, and other underrepresented groups working in fintech, at 21.4%. This mirrors findings from the Tech Nation Report (2021) on the tech ecosystem as a whole. However, it falls short of the 40% of people living in London who are Black, Asian or other ethnic minority.

Comment

Eric Collins

CEO & Founding Member, Impact X Capital

"It’s fantastic to see research targeting a better evidence base on the UK’s fintech workforce. Initial findings of 20% representation of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities is encouraging, but interrogating this data will be essential to really understanding the true position of under-represented communities.

This research paints a picture of everyone sitting in the same canteen, but at very different tables - for specific job functions or for different levels of seniority. We must use this research to pinpoint the most problematic areas to target future action."

 

How does ethnic diversity in fintech compare to the tech sector, and UK labour market as a whole?

20% of employees in UK fintech are Black, Asian, or from another underrepresented group

Fintech has a marginally higher proportion of employees from Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups groups than the tech sector as a whole at 15.2% and nearly double that of the UK labour market where the figure is 11.8% for all occupations.

In Banking and Finance, this figure is 17.5% according to the Office for National Statistics.

The most recent Census in 2011 highlights that in England and Wales, 80% of the population were White British. Asian (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, other) ‘groups’ made up 6.8% of the population; Black groups 3.4%; Chinese groups 0.7%, Arab groups 0.4% and other groups 0.6%.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

This report takes steps towards a more granular taxonomy of ethnicity, moving beyond the unhelpful label "BAME" to identify different ethnic groups. This report begins to build an evidence base (from the data available), however, we recognise that the disaggregation of this data does not go far enough (and that there are many further distinct communities within each categorisation). 

Comment

Liam Gray, Strategic Account Manager

Plaid

[Q] What makes Fintech an attractive career option? 

[A] Fintech is an extremely attractive career option due to its incredible transformation and rapid growth. New areas of fintech are gaining traction, such as; open banking, embedded finance and decentralised finance that didn’t even exist five years ago. You can enter the industry, choose a subsector or technology and be one of the first to become a real expert in the field. If you want to be a pioneer, fintech is the place to be.

[Q] What did your journey into Fintech look like? 

[A] My route was via traditional finance. I started in asset management, went to insurance and then eventually found fintech. Fintech came on my radar because it was both an existential threat  to and huge opportunity for the companies I was consulting. The more I researched the space, the more I realised it was truly the future of finance. 

Click to read more

The sample of UK fintech employees studied suggests men outnumber women working in UK fintech by a ratio of 2:1.

Within this, in total 13.5% of all female UK fintech employees are Black (3%), Asian (7%) and other underrepresented groups (3.5%).

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021. Note: Profiles where gender was unknown were removed from this analysis)

This is broadly similar for the percentage of total all male UK fintech employees from all underrepresented groups at 12.5%, of which the breakdown is Black (3%), Asian (7%), and other underrepresented groups (2.5%).

The majority of people working in UK fintech are White males (55.61%)

White females make up 28.4% of fintech employees, while Asian females represent just over 2.5%, and Black females 1.11% of the sample of fintech employees.

Ethnicity and gender of people working in UK fintech

Ethnicity - Gender% of Total Fintech Workforce
Asian - Female2.52
Asian - Male4.58
Black - Female1.11
Black - Male1.99
White - Female28.36
White - Male55.61
Other ethnic minority - Female0.99
Other ethnic minority - Male1.66

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

Comment

Genevieve Leveille, Founder and CEO

AgriLedger

[Q] What did your journey into Fintech look like? 

[A] I have always been in a position of innovation in many of my old companies and was working in Financial Services, first in the banking industry with Chase Manhattan Bank, this was unconventional as I traveled extensively meeting with customers of the bank to support them in their migrations to treasury workstations.  This gave me the budget for travel and the confidence to be able to hold my own with clients and understand the differences between work and socialising and how the two needed to be balanced to support my growth and  professional progression.  I would almost term this my finishing school as learning to engage during meals and non work interactions are as important as performing one's role.

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Have levels of diversity changed over the last decade in UK fintech?

Over the last decade, ethnic diversity in fintech has increased, from 12% Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups, to 20% in 2021.

However, there has not been a uniform increase in the proportion of people across ethnicities. For example, the proportion of Black people working in fintech has remained static over the last decade at 3.1%, whilst the proportion of Asian people working in fintech has increased from 7.5% to 12.2%, and other underrepresented groups have increased from 1.9% to 2.8%, a 2x increase.

It is worth noting that despite a stasis in the proportion of Black people in UK fintech, the absolute number of Black people working in fintech has increased by just over 9.5x in the last decade. This likely reflects the rapid growth seen in the industry.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

Case study

Diversity and inclusion in a high growth fintech

Sujata Bhatia, Chief Operating Officer

Monzo

Since inception in 2015, Monzo has continued to grow dramatically year on year - with customer growth up 23% to over 5M customers, and 124% increase in deposits in the last year alone. 

In order to keep scaling, we knew we needed to attract the best talent - not just in the UK, but globally. But with traditional recruiting methods and channels, we kept getting a really similar set of applicants. 

We had to find a way to intentionally attract a diverse community and show a broader set of prospective applicants that Monzo was a place they could grow and thrive - not fight for a simple seat at the table. Changes as simple as rewriting job descriptions to remove bias and adding photos of the team to highlight diversity can have an immediate impact.  For one of our teams, these changes increased the number of applicants we received overnight by 10x. 


Click to read more

 

Does ethnic diversity of fintech companies change with company growth stage?

The earlier the stage a fintech company, the more diverse its workforce

Seed stage companies have approximately 15% representation in the workforce of Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups, whilst Exited companies have 9%. The proportion of Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups declines with each stage of company growth.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

However, the stage of a company's growth is not necessarily the key determinant of diversity. There may be a number of reasons underpinning this trend, not least the age of companies, and emphasis put on inclusiveness and diversity. More work is required to unpick why, in aggregate, later stage firms are less diverse in fintech.

Comment

Harish Pesala, Co-Founder

Balkerne

At seed stages, companies like ours tend to hire generalist problem solvers and applicants are likely to have a technology background, this attracts a diverse pool of young candidates. At later stages, we’re looking for individuals with a proven track record in the sector. In insurance, we found that senior advisors and board members are most likely to be men of white ethnicity. We didn't find many women or individuals from a BAME background in top positions.



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Are there differences in the ethnicity of people working across functions in fintech companies?

Black fintech employees were most highly represented as a proportion of all employees within a function in HR (4%) and Asian employees were most highly represented in IT & tech (12%) and finance (12%) as a proportion of all employees in that function

Black people were most highly represented as a proportion of all employees within a function in HR at 4%. This is 33% higher than the proportion of Black people working in fintech as a whole (3%). In absolute terms the highest number of Black people working in UK fintech are in Sales and Marketing.

Case study

CAFCA Scholarship Programme

Fintrail

To directly increase accessibility to under-represented communities within their area of work, Fintrail provides an opportunity to obtain a globally recognised certification, designed to enhance the compliance skills and knowledge required to work in entry level financial crime prevention roles.

Fintrail partnered with ACAMS to offer 30 fully paid scholarships to talented individuals from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds to complete the Certified AML FinTech Compliance Associate (CAFCA) qualification. As a global business, they recognised the benefits to having a diverse workforce to unlock the diversity of thinking required, to better serve clients across the world. As a result of the scholarship program, selected candidates are able to pursue a Fintech compliance certification with full waiver of fees, including the cost of the training materials and examinations.  Fintrail are also in talks with ACAMS to provide mentorship to the scholarship candidates.


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Asian people were most highly represented in IT & tech (12%), and finance (12%) functions, where Black and other underrepresented groups were proportionally less well represented.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

Comment

Harish Pesala, Co-Founder

Balkerne

[Q] What are the possible reasons why Asians have greater participation in IT, Tech and Finance roles? Connections already in the industry? Are fintech companies drawing on a wealth of talent from other regions?

[A] In order to do well in B2B ‘Head of Growth’, Management functions, you need to have the right network, play golf and be in between the right communities. To excel in IT or any operational role, you just need to learn and work hard. 

 

Is there a relationship between ethnicity and career progression in Fintech?

The majority of UK fintech employees identified had 2- 5 years experience, followed by 0 – 2 years and 5 – 10 years. This was true across both males and females and across all ethnicities.

Of the early careers population, 77% were White, 12% Asian and 3% Black. The population with five to ten years experience rose to 81% White, 10% Asian and 3% Black. 

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

With ten to fifteen years experience combined ethnic minority representation fell to 11% and 8% with more than fifteen years experience. 

This implies the proportion of underrepresented groups drops from early careers to senior executives and C-suite populations.

Comment

Karan Jain, CEO

NayaOne

[Q] What is the relationship between ethnicity and career progression in Fintech? What could be the reasons for the lower participation of ethnic minorities in Executive roles?

[A] I believe a large part of the reason is exposure to other facets of business early in the career. We see many technical individuals climb the ranks within technology and not get exposed to other elements of the business which help business leaders make contextualised decisions. 

Something we prioritise at NayaOne is to expose all our staff to two to three facets of the business. It helps the individual gain clarity on how their contribution impacts the overall business and enables another set of skills that will be helpful for their career growth in the future. 


 

Does the level of education held by Fintech employees vary by ethnic group?

White people working in fintech are the least likely to have a degree (44%).

58% of Asian people, 47% of Black people, and 55% of other underrepresented groups that work in fintech hold a degree.

Of those people with a degree who are working in UK fintech, 3.1% are Black, 12.9% Asian, and 3.3% other underrepresented groups

Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups are marginally more likely to have a degree than White people working in fintech.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

 

What experience have fintech employees had in other industries, and how does this vary by ethnic group?

Across all employees, 39% of all those identified had come from financial services as a prior industry. 22% came from IT and Services. 

This graph shows the ethnicity breakdown proportionally for each of the industries where fintech employees previously gained experience.

The bars are representative of the population of people moving from the sector displayed on the left axis - therefore, the chart is to be read as the proportion of ethnic groups by industry, rather than the overall proportion that have moved from that industry into fintech.

As such, breaking down banking and finance, 18% of all people moving to fintech from insurance were Asian, 13% of all people moving from Staffing and Recruiting to fintech were Black, and while 14.3% of people moving from Investment Banking to fintech were Asian, less than 2% were Black.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021, Note: The sample for previous industry is significantly lower than the overall sample of profiles collected due to a lack of career history on many profiles)

Comment

Harris Irfan, Chair

Uk Islamic Fintech Panel

In the Islamic fintech sector, ethnic diversity is (unsurprisingly) strong. This is because founders are typically individuals who found the traditional Islamic banking sector unable to deliver the products or services they themselves sought. Many have also complained to me that, at senior levels, traditional Islamic banks are not representative of the people they serve, and therefore have limited understanding of Muslim communities requiring access to financial services, and their specific needs.


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Does ethnic diversity of fintech employees vary across UK nations and regions?

London has the highest proportion of Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups working in fintech, at 21.4%.

This mirrors findings from the Tech Nation Report (2021) on the tech ecosystem as a whole. However, it falls short of the 40% of people living in London who are Black, Asian or from another underrepresented groups.

Across other UK regions and nations levels of diversity in fintech versus the population living in that area vary, for example, in Yorkshire and the Humber fintech employees who are Black, Asian or from another underrepresented group make up 10.7% of the population, whilst the broader regional population is 11.2% Black, Asian, Mixed, or another underrepresented groups. On the other hand, in the East of England, 9.2% of the population is Black, Asian, Mixed or from another underrepresented groups, whilst the fintech employee population is made up of 11.4% Black, Asian and other underrepresented groups.

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021)

Ethnicity by regional/ national population in the UK (does not include NI and Scotland)

RegionPopulation: % Black, Asian, Mixed, and other underrepresented groupsPopulation: % White (British and Other)Fintech: % Black, Asian, and other underrepresented groupsFintech: % White
East9.290.811.488.6
East Midlands10.889.312.487.6
London40.259.821.478.6
North East4.795.39.590.5
North West9.890.2989
South East9.390.613.786.3
South West4.695.49.990.1
Wales4.495.612.687.4
West Midlands17.482.814.585.5
Yorkshire and The Humber11.288.810.789.3

(Source: Tech Nation, Talent Intuition, 2021, ONS, 2020, Census 2011)

Comment

Rishi Khosla, CEO

OakNorth Bank

"Access to diverse, global talent has been absolutely instrumental to OakNorth’s success to date, and will continue to be in the future. Across the OakNorth group we have over 750 employees representing more than two dozen nationalities.

When it comes to attracting talent from diverse backgrounds, the UK benefits from several key factors: world class research universities (four of the world’s top 10 universities are here); forward-thinking regulators with an open approach to innovation; a sophisticated investor network and growing investment capital; a strong framework of common law; and a timezone that allows true global operations across EMEA, APAC, and the Americas.

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General reflections

Comment

Ron Kalifa

Author of Kalifa Review of UK fintech and former CEO, WorldPay

"A progressive and inclusive fintech sector will ensure the UK continues as a global leader in the future of finance, with firms drawing on a wide range of skills, knowledge and backgrounds. It's encouraging to see participation of ethnic minorities estimated to be higher in fintech than in traditional finance or wider tech roles. However, there is more that can be done to drive lasting change and overcome obstacles faced by those from under-represented groups. Working together we need to ensure that background and ethnicity are not a barrier to participation in this exciting sector's success."

Comment

Ravi Shukla, Head of Fintech Delivery Panel

Tech Nation

"I am pleased that the Fintech Delivery Panel has been able to create an evidence base looking at the role and participation of ethnic minorities in UK Fintech. This data-led approach looking into ethnic diversity is the first of its kind. It highlights how ethnic minorities have made a huge contribution to the success of the industry in proportion to their population size. A report I read suggested a third of UK unicorns were founded by ethnic minorities which did not surprise me. In the past, many 1st or 2nd generation children of immigrants pursued entrepreneurship out of necessity, exclusion and lack of opportunity but this adversity helped them to develop the grit and skills required to be successful entrepreneurs. However, whilst there has been progress in regards to participation, more data needs to be made available able to understand the deeper nuances of addressing gender, race and socio-economic disparities.  

Growing up in London, I was lucky to be able to develop a strong sense of cultural awareness, having always had the opportunity to interact with people from different cultures and nationalities. The UK benefits from having rich pockets of ethnic diversity and thinking across the country, which also has the potential to unlock new opportunities in emerging markets. 

We hope that this research inspires fintech’s to take steps to collect more granular diversity data, so targeted actions can be taken to support underserved communities and to ensure D&I best practices are embedded into its growth plan."

Comment

Parul Kaul-Green, Chief of Staff APAC and Europe

AXA XL

“I found the findings of the FDP Diversity research a compelling read as it is data driven and removes some aggregation biases and provides increased granularity. My main take away is that the UK Fintech sector has better representation of ethnic minority employees than the traditional financial services, albeit on a much smaller employee base. This is a harbinger of both progressiveness and innovation for the sector. In my opinion, there is a clear need for further progress when it comes to employees with intersectional characteristics. As an example ethnic minority women and those from socio-economically challenged background, still face an uphill struggle when it comes to hiring, inclusion and career progression in the sector.”

Comment

Arunan Tharmarajah, Head of European Banking

Wise

“This report highlights how important it is to boost diversity in this relatively new sector before it becomes endemic. At Wise, we want our teams to represent our customer base, so it’s crucial we recruit people that can understand the challenges of all our customers. That’s why we have implemented a number of programmes to attract candidates from a range of backgrounds: from graduate schemes to mentoring programmes with local schools, as well as our apprenticeship programme. We are committed to attracting talent from diverse backgrounds for our organisation for the long term.”

Comment

Clare Black, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communication

Innovate Finance

 “I would like to thank Tech Nation for this timely and useful report that aims to quantify the representation, role and participation of ethnic minorities in the UK FinTech sector.

The results do not make for easy reading. Sadly, it comes as no surprise, as we know from our own work on gender and racial diversity that there remains much work to be done in an industry where 70-80% of FinTech employees are White. It is shocking to read that the proportion of Black people working in UK FinTech has remained static over the last decade at just 3.1%.

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Comment

Genevieve Leveille

AgriLedger

“In my opinion there is a need to create opportunities for people from underrepresented communities to take their rightful place in the ecosystem. If we observe the growth in regions such as Africa, Asia and LATAM we can see that it is the ‘West’ where we experience challenges in (under)representation. In my opinion, this can be attributed to the systemic issues that come with living in a mostly White community.

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Comment

Karan Jain, CEO

NayaOne

"Cultural diversity plays an important element in the overall cognitive diversity of an individual as well as the team and organisational aggregate. Diversity is at the core of NayaOne. We can’t transform financial services and products if they are built in a non-diverse echo chamber. One of our strategies to maintain diversity is that at least 50% of the shortlisted applicants should be representative of cognitive diversity.

Being born in India, raised in Australia and now in the UK - I can attest to the benefits of experiencing different cultures and how that builds perspective, resilience and understanding of the way our biases work. NayaOne was born in the City of London, and without the diversity of our team, we will not have been able to build strong partnerships with the diverse nature of customers."

Next steps

This report has aimed to establish an evidence base around ethnic diversity in UK fintech. The Fintech Delivery Panel Diversity Group will build on these findings to drive specific action.

We encourage fintech leaders motivated by this report to join us and get involved in the FDP Diversity working group.

Please get in touch with the Fintech Delivery Panel team here.

Comment

Next steps

Ahmed Badr, Co-Chair

Fintech Delivery Panel Diversity Working Group

[Q] What further research or actions would you like to see from the industry?

[A] We believe there's a lot more that needs to be done - both bottom-up and top-down:

It’s easy for companies to point to the lack of diversity at the top of the employment funnel as a reason for lower rates of hiring of diverse talent - that is, the talent is not there to hire. The reality is that more needs to be done to increase the diversity of candidates entering the funnel. This will take investing in education and enablement further upstream.  It's a long-term play, but likely what's required to drive significant change.

As well as up-skilling people, we need to do more to attract them into the funnel once those skills are gained. How can we show them that a job in fintech is for someone like me? School programmes and community outreach may have a role to play here -- and the message will be more likely to land coming from someone who was once in their shoes.

At the other end, more needs to be done to drive diversity top-down. D&I measures and commitments are not yet a required lens for fundraising; investors are not demanding progress. If they were to do so, and it was to become core to how fintech operates, this could drive significant change. It’s true that investors themselves have a lot to do in this space too, but their policies could have a huge impact on the industry.


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Comment

Next steps

Martin Ijaha, Co-Chair

Fintech Delivery Panel Diversity Working Group

From a very personal perspective this has been a very important project to be involved in and one in which we’ve been encouraged by the level of support from FDP members, Tech Nation and across the sector.

The main conclusion is that the UK fintech sector has better representation of ethnic minorities than other employment sectors across the UK. But digging a bit deeper, other data points from the report provide less favourable reading.  In combination with earlier research showing the low levels of participation of ethnic minorities in funding the report clearly points to more work needed to improve the participation of underrepresented groups across the UK fintech sector.

Financial inclusion is a theme that has driven many of our most successful fintech’s across the UK, with innovations that have improved the lives of customers and increased financial inclusion across our society. Building on this position and improving representation across the UK fintech work force will only accelerate this impact.

 

Methodology

Many thanks to data partner, Stratigens.

Stratigens software places global workforce data at the heart of corporate strategy, empowering visionary business leaders to make radically smarter decisions. Stratigens gathers millions of data points on skills, cities and countries from thousands of data sources and makes this information easily digestible, turning external data into intelligence and insights. Stratigens enables you to invest in people driven strategies, using data to manage human capital effectively.

While this report takes a significant step in building the evidence base around ethnic diversity in UK fintech, we are very conscious of the limitations inherent in this methodology. Firstly, publicly available, web based data has been analysed to describe gender and ethnicity - alongside this, a mechanism that enables self identification, to achieve more granular descriptions is necessary in future. Secondly, and linked to the first point, a more granular taxonomy of ethnicity is needed to explore the multiplicity of communities that underlie the data presented here.

Approximately 4,600 fintech companies of all sizes across the UK were initially identified from data platform, Beauhurst.

Ethnicity was described in the report as Black, Asian, White, and other ethnic minority groups. When we refer to these groups, we use The Office for National Statistics definition. In this report the term Asian is used to categorise Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Chinese people and people of any other Asian ancestry.

Descriptions for ethnicity, gender and other characteristics, such as educational background and previous industry experience were used in aggregate, and profiles were anonymised in the form that they were received from our data partner, Talent Intuition.

This initially led to the identification of over 300,000 profiles of prospective fintech employees from multiple professional networking platforms, including Github, Stack Overflow, and LinkedIn.

Over 1,400 professional networking platforms were drawn on in this research, covering the globe. However, this study focuses exclusively on people based in the UK, working for UK-headquartered fintech firms.

The initial tranche of profiles was de-duplicated, cleaned and cut down to a sample of 52,484 profiles, which correspond to a person working in UK fintech.

Some estimates of the UK fintech workforce are higher than this figure (for example Supporting UK Fintech: Accessing a Global Talent Pool (2018) which estimated there to be approximately 70,000 employees). This smaller sample size may be due to people not having a professional networking profile, or an inability to identify that profile (e.g. company is not referenced in their profile, or it is out of date).

Cleaned profile data was then analysed, with a combination of first name and second name analysis alongside image recognition conducted to estimate key variables.