Owners of financial technology (fintech) startups should find creative ways to attract and retain talent, especially for jobs that entail technical skills and expertise, according to Doha-based fintech experts.
Ahmed Isse, co-founder of Dibsy, and Mohamed Suleiman, co-founder of Karty, both pointed out during a recently-held panel discussion on Qatar’s fintech industry that talent acquisition and talent management are among the different challenges being faced by many startups.
Among the desired goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 includes the establishment of a strong digital infrastructure. Recent efforts to achieve this include the Qatar Central Bank’s launching of the Qatar FinTech Strategy 2023, which supports diversification and innovation in the country’s financial sector.
Both Isse and Suleiman agree that Qatar’s fintech industry is undeniably flourishing. However, the question remains: How can startups in the country attract more talent on a global scale?
Suleiman said: “Based on our experience, attracting and retaining talent is challenging. As a startup, it’s difficult to compete with large financial institutions or big banks, particularly considering the high demand for technical expertise worldwide. Therefore, it becomes crucial to customise our offerings to appeal to potential hires.”
He said companies can consider providing stock options, thus allowing employees to become part of the company. Another alternative is to assure them of good benefits, which employees can reap if there is a successful exit.
“It’s important to recognise that your employees are not solely motivated by a salary; they want to be part of a team and contribute to the company’s success,” Suleiman pointed out.
According to Isse, attracting and keeping talent entails some form of investment on the part of the company. “There are challenges within the ecosystem, but I believe that more investments in our ecosystem would attract greater talent to the market,” he noted.
Isse said: “A strong ecosystem relies on significant investments that enable us to provide competitive salaries and employee stock options. These factors are crucial in attracting talent, especially in the technical field where remote work and global opportunities are highly sought after.”
“When it comes to non-technical roles, investing more in universities and grooming interns can be effective. By teaching them the ropes and exposing them to specific areas, they have the potential to surpass traditional hires over time. Currently, we have three or four interns in our team who have transitioned to full-time positions and now handle certain areas of the company,” Isse added.
Suleiman said: “Adopting a more relaxed startup policy can also be advantageous. Instead of enforcing strict formal dress codes, we can allow casual attire. Additionally, flexible working hours can be implemented. Such alternative employment practices can be attractive to individuals, especially in the technical field, who prefer a more relaxed work environment compared to a traditional corporate setting.”
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