As Nigerian fintech companies continue to steadily transform from small startups to major corporations, experts have advised that it is now time for them to begin re-skilling in order to ensure the overall success of their businesses.
The need to re-skill became imperative following the discovery of skills gaps in the Nigerian fintech space. The discovery is part of new research findings on the current state of things in the fintech industry. Nairametrics published an earlier report about the research which was sponsored by MasterCard and MTN Group.
Focus on the skills gaps in the Nigerian fintech space
According to the report — State of play: Fintech in Nigeria — there have been skills gaps in the fintech space, particularly in the areas of business management, corporate governance, and marketing. Apparently, these are skills that are outside of the core of the fintech business which is coding. This notwithstanding, they are needed in order to ensure long-term success for these fintechs.
The report quoted Olayinka David-West of the Lagos Business School to have stated that beyond coding, essential business knowledge is highly needed by these fintechs to ensure sustainable revenue generation and profitability.
Meanwhile, the head of growth at Paystack, Emmanuel Quartey, admitted that there is, indeed, a dearth of other vital skills in the Nigerian fintech industry. According to him, his organisation finds it difficult to fill marketing roles because of this dearth of skills. He said:
“Finding someone articulate who understands how to bring a product to market and create strong engagement and retention, is tough. Much of the current training out there is around teaching people how to code. We are now seeing a new wave of focus on product management. I think the next wave will be a focus on branding and marketing.”
Why this is a peculiar problem for fintechs
Quartey went further to note that when compared to other tech companies, Nigerian fintechs are faced with unique skills challenges. And this is due to the need for compliance. He then explained, stating that “there are very strong compliance requirements you need to meet in order to run a fintech. If you are building a photo-sharing app it’s easier to have a team of mostly engineers. But in fintech, you need a team focused on compliance as well as fraud, so that’s something you have to build out too.”
In the meantime, Nigeria’s brain drain problem has been identified as a major problem that might be making it difficult for Nigerian fintech companies to find the right fits for some essentials. While commenting on this issue, Olayinka David-West of the Lagos Business School said “the pool of employable talent emigrating to places like Canada scares me. My question for corporate Nigeria is, what is our replacement strategy for these workers?”