How diversity is evolving in the fintech industry

by Elena Dimova, VP HR Bulgaria and Operations & Technology at Paysafe.


With both finance and technology being traditionally male-dominated fields, and fintech representing a coming together of the two, ensuring strong female representation in our industry has not always been easy. Women’s History Month is a good time to review how gender diversity is evolving in fintech, and look at which external factors are contributing to progress as well as those which would benefit from a renewed focus.

The pandemic, and more specifically the subsequent hybrid and remote working models which followed, is one such catalyst that has brought about changes which are positively impacting diversity in fintech. The resulting increase in flexibility has created more attractive working environments for women who traditionally face more of a challenge with the double burden of work and home responsibilities. Where before they often had to choose between the two, it now seems to have empowered more women to achieve a better balance between their personal and professional lives. While this increase in flexibility wasn’t specifically introduced to support women in the industry, it has created an environment that is largely seen as beneficial for their professional development. And the more women progress in the workforce and in their respective fields, the more visible they become, allowing them to serve as role models for others and hopefully attracting new female applicants.

Other external factors that have indirectly impacted diversity in fintech are the current cost-of-living crisis and increased global migration as a result of the war in Ukraine. While the end-user base of fintech services has traditionally been male-dominated, which has historically led to predominantly male employees tailoring products towards men’s taste, these macroeconomic influences are changing this dynamic as well. We have seen women become a larger part of the user base for fintech services to meet their evolving needs, which should lead to fintech companies giving more careful consideration to female audiences when enhancing existing products and services and developing new ones. Therefore, we can also expect more women to be involved in their development.

In addition to these external trends, which seem to have had a positive impact on female representation in the fintech industry as a whole, there are also certain roles that have traditionally attracted women. Roles such as marketing and client servicing teams, which tend to rely on softer skills, continue to attract female talent, along with risk, compliance and finance, which also have a fair representation of women. This trend seems to be continuing on an upward trajectory, supplemented by the industry’s increased focus on regulation and security, which gives these teams more opportunities for development and growth. When you look at it from this perspective, gender diversity in the fintech industry appears to be at a good level and progressing well.

However, there are some persistent challenges that require a concerted effort by the industry in order to increase diversity and attract more women. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based disciplines like security and product development are areas where women are still under-represented, and fintech is no exception. This is a prime example of a vicious cycle where the preconceptions around these areas being male-dominated put women off pursuing careers in them, which in turn leads to the workforce continuing to be mostly male. This is a challenge that needs to be tackled directly in order to improve female representation. At Paysafe, we work closely with our learning and development teams to attract and retain a more diverse workforce in these areas and provide women with opportunities to progress into senior tech roles within the business.

So, while we are seeing some positive change, to overcome its current diversity challenges, the industry as a whole clearly has a role to play to encourage women to participate in fintech. It is also crucial to work collaboratively with the education industry to effect change at a ‘grass roots’ stage, making STEM more accessible to young girls early on in school. This would go a long way in empowering women to embark on a tech-focused career. Another important factor would be to showcase more successful female role models in tech. That would have a long-term impact on dispelling the preconceived notion of technology being a male-dominated field and making these jobs more attractive to women.

There are also some more immediate steps fintech businesses can take to encourage increased diversity. A good way to start would be to review recruitment practices and make them more accessible for a female audience. From the way job opportunities are communicated, to transparency around internal policies, to training interviewers on unconscious bias, there are a lot of opportunities to improve the process. At Paysafe, we take these areas seriously throughout the full employee lifecycle. This helps us reach more diverse candidates and retain them throughout the process, onboard them as employees and provide an inclusive workplace where they can progress in their careers.

As an industry, it is key to focus on attracting more women in technical areas and creating role models. This will certainly help us improve diversity in the long term. We also need to get better at communicating what skills are valuable for a career in fintech and the breadth of roles that are available. If we make an effort to show women that they can have a sustainable and successful career in our industry, we will achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce.


Explore more