What does the growth of fintech mean for Switzerland's banking market?

Posting date: 29 July 2020

According to the IFZ Fintech Study 2020, Swiss fintechs are “beginning to outpace the [traditional] financial companies” and are growing at an annual rate of 7%. As the fintech companies make a name for themselves – particularly in investment management and banking infrastructure – this has raised the question of whether they pose a threat to the long-standing banking institutes.

 

While it may be true that traditional business models need to be revamped to fit in with the digital world there are many complex financial services that banks offer which fintech companies don’t. Here lies the solution to maximising the growth of fintech while protecting Switzerland’s banks - both markets can prosper when they focus on their unique services.

HOW LONG CAN A TRADITIONAL MODEL WORK IN THE DIGITAL WORLD?

Switzerland’s banking market attracts a huge amount of international investment, and in 2018 they were said to have $6.5 trillion in assets, which amounts to 25% of all global cross-border finances.

 

But with fintech companies flooding the market there’s been a wakeup call for traditional banks to apply technology-driven models. This has been answered by Swissquote Bank who have adopted a blockchain infrastructure and integrated robo-advisory. As more banks begin to adapt their functions it will leave those relying on their traditional business model and reputation struggling to keep pace with the digital world.

BANKING INFRASTRUCTURE

There are many services that the fintech market seamlessly offers - trading in cryptocurrencies, crowd funding and banking infrastructure – that established banks do not compete on. Narrowing in on banking infrastructure, it was found that in 2019 74% of Swiss fintech employees were working in this fintech niche. Banking infrastructure will continue to dominate the Swiss fintech market as financial services move over to the digital sphere – a change accelerate by Covid-19 – and institutions realise their responsibility to seek out systems that protect sensitive data and shield from potential attacks.

THE HOME OF THE CRYPTO VALLEY

Just as the US has the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, Switzerland has its own hub of fintech activity between Zug and Zurich. Known as the Crypto Valley, this region houses over 800 companies and 4,000 employees - with skills in cryptocurrency and blockchain - who handle the mining, storing, trading and investing of currencies such as Bitcoin. Bitcoin hit the market in 2009 and brought with it fear that digital assets would replace the traditional banking system but as it became clear that the volatile currencies would never be used to pay salaries or to take out mortgages, banks recognised they weren’t a direct threat to their services.

THE START-UP SCENE

With its world-renowned banking market, it’s no surprise that fintech has been crowned an up and coming star in Switzerland. Despite having a small population, the nation ranks fifth in the world based on their fintech business infrastructure and ecosystem quality, competing with the powerhouses that are the US and the UK. More fintech start-ups are springing up each day in Switzerland and though banks have traditionally been wary of investing in new businesses with little capital and unproven business models, they are beginning to get behind the smaller companies as they recognise their disruptive business models are the future.

WORKING TOGETHER AND SIDE BY SIDE

While Swiss fintech companies operate in the same realm as the banking market, they provide a distinctly different service and therefore there is an opportunity for the two to work together and benefit from one another. The two markets can collaborate on banking infrastructure and by doing so protect maximise data security and gain more of their trust. Meanwhile, they must continue providing services that the other market doesn’t offer, meaning that banks should direct their resources towards providing complex financial services and fintech companies focus on supplying currencies that are safe from hyperinflation.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB OPPORTUNITY IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?

At Swisslinx, we understand the finance industry is subject to an ever-evolving regulatory landscape and exposed to continuous innovations, so navigating the financial services job market can be challenging. Our team of specialist consultants are constantly updating their knowledge and are sure to keep a keen eye on changes in the market. Browse our

financial services jobs to find your next job in fintech, investment banking, wealth management and asset management or insurance.

How can you stand out in a competitive job market?

The Swiss job market has historically been very stable, with an unemployment rate of less than 3.5% since October 2019. However, Covid-19 has hit the global job market hard, and Switzerland hasn’t escaped entirely unscathed. According to Reuters, there were 55% more people out of work in June 2020 than there were in 2020, with the novel coronavirus leaving restaurants and tourist enterprises vulnerable. The Swiss scheme to compensate people working shorter hours to avoid mass layoffs has helped to prevent more widespread damage, however, and we are now seeing green shoots in the local job market. The number of open positions registered with employment agencies more than doubled from May to June, and we continue to see exciting new opportunities open up to professionals. But how can job seekers stand out and secure these roles? Step one: Optimise your LinkedIn In order to stand out in a crowded marketplace, you must make sure you’re easy to be found. Start by looking at your LinkedIn profile and any other professional networking presence you have. Make sure all your recent and relevant work experience is listed in detail, including job titles, key skills, technologies you’ve worked with and any other keywords that recruiters might use to search for you. Take a LinkedIn skills assessment to demonstrate your abilities and add a Verified Skills badge to your profile – research shows that candidates with verified skills are 30% more likely to be hired. Make sure you’ve got a photo uploaded and a title that reflects what you’re looking for and you’re on your way to getting noticed. Step two: Network and make connections Once you’ve polished your online profiles, it’s time to develop your personal brand and do some digital networking. Connect with industry leaders you admire, follow companies and profiles that relate to your sector and don’t be afraid to share your opinions and ideas. You might not quite feel ready to publish your own thought leadership article on LinkedIn, but it’s easy to ask a question of your network or even share a thought-provoking blog. One of the best ways to network online is by joining LinkedIn groups related to your niche – for instance, Life Sciences in Switzerland and Job & Career in Switzerland. And don’t forget to reach out to recruiters and executive search consultants in your industry! Step three: Overhaul your CV Once you’ve found roles to apply to, you’ll want to tailor your CV accordingly. Your CV should act as a snapshot of your career and highlight all your key skills and achievements. Make sure to include any details that might set you apart from another candidate, whether that’s German language skills, recent digital accreditation or success in influencing senior stakeholders. Think of what you’re really proud of and what value you can add in a company, and highlight these in your CV and cover letter. Try to keep your CV to two pages where possible and triple-check it before sending it away, watching out for typos and inconsistencies. Step four: Apply thoughtfully and carefully If you’re looking for new opportunities, it can be tempting to simply send the same version of your CV out far and wide to as many places as possible. However, recruiters and hiring managers will know if you’ve not put any effort into your application. Where possible, tailor your CV or cover letter to the role you’re applying for, matching skills and requirements to those from the job ad. This approach can be more time consuming than a ‘send to all’ strategy, but by showing specifically how your experience aligns with the vacancy, you’ll have a higher chance of progression in the application. Step five: Bring your best self to the interview Whether it’s a video interview or traditional in-person meeting, getting to this stage is a great sign that the company is interested in you. With that in mind, approach the interview with confidence and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Organisations are increasingly looking for cultural and organisational fit, as well as technical and experiential prowess, so it’s important to be yourself at the interview stage. Try to relax and remember that the interviewer will be looking to sell the position, just like you are trying to demonstrate your value. If it’s a good match, then congratulations! If not, continue the above steps until you find a position that suits you. Find your next role with Swisslinx Even in the most competitive job market, our strong industry relationships and understanding our industries means we can offer candidates access to a variety of roles across our recruitment markets. Find out more about being a Swisslinx candidate or view our latest jobs to take your next career step.

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What key skills does the modern developer need?

Information technology departments all over the world have been scrambling in the past few months, with many IT professionals suddenly tasked with the daunting role of mobilising a remote workforce, seemingly overnight. Looking ahead, IT spending forecasts suggest there will be ongoing demand for cloud infrastructure services as businesses continue to work remotely, according to Deloitte. The same goes for communication and telecom services and software. And with more companies using online technologies and software than ever before - to work, collaborate and communicate – we're seeing increasing demand for information technology professionals. Working in information technology recruitment, we make it our business to keep a close eye on market trends and skills in demand by employers. Through this, we’ve seen developers continue to be sought out for companies across Switzerland and further afield. If you’re considering your next career step and want to make sure you stand out to potential employers, consider the following key skills that every modern developer needs. Coding languages Developers and programmers must have a firm knowledge of at least one coding language, such as Java, C++, JavaScript or Python. Most software developers in today’s technology landscape will be expected to know JavaScript, which has been ranked as the most popular developer language for seven years in a row. JavaScript is used alongside HTML and CSS for front-end web development. Meanwhile, user-friendly Python is an ideal language for beginner developers to pick up for back-end development and desktop applications, along with C++ and C# for game and mobile development. Whether you’re a skilled java developer or a creative C++ coder, it’s a clear competitive advantage to have deep experience in at least one coding language, and ideally be familiar with others too. Cloud expertise Cloud computing is one of tech’s biggest boom areas now, with companies of all sizes shifting their environments to the cloud for ease of access, cost-saving and scalability. Many programmers and developers will find themselves needing to work with cloud-native applications in the near future, particularly if they’re working in the development fields of data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. There are entire roles devoted to cloud development, where you’ll be expected to have database and programming skills along with Linux and cloud platform expertise, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud Platform. Even if you don’t want to become a dedicated cloud developer, it’s still well worth developing some cloud skills to have access to more programming jobs in the future. Flexibility and problem-solving skills The modern developer needs to be reactive and quick on their feet. This is particularly true in the post-Covid landscape, where many organisations are entering ‘sink or swim’ mode and some are completely reinventing their business models and service offerings. The rise in remote work and conferencing platforms and online cashless solutions have contributed to a predicted tech industry increase from US$131bn to US$295bn by 2025. This boom is creating challenges for developers to react to, but also an abundance of opportunities to be innovative and creative. Modern web developers should be agile and curious, always challenging the status quo and prepared to look for new solutions and ideas. Doing so will help to remain relevant in the changing job market and stand out to IT recruitment agencies. Find your next developer job at Swisslinx Swisslinx has deep experience in digital and technology executive recruitment, helping to match brilliant candidates with exceptional companies. If you’re looking for your next programmer or developer role, we’d love to help. View our latest digital and technology jobs here or contact us to see how we can help.

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