JOBS PLUS: Polar shift in skillsets sees brain drain from telcos, pharma to ‘functional’ finance

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Jobs 'brain drain'

Transformation in skill sets in financial services sector – a ‘brain drain’ from telcos and Big Pharma

By ECM Plus staff

ECM Plus +++ With large financial services projects dictating the need for functional programming rather than object-oriented development, there has been a shift in demand for development skill-sets around languages such as SCALA and PYTHON, according to Ed Ekins, head of the financial services technology practice at Twenty Recruitment.

“Three or four of the big investment banks have moved away from the historical trend of creating technology systems for technology’s sake and are developing business aligned, cross asset systems for the business which means that functional programming is beginning to take over object oriented development” Ekins said.

The problem however is that there are very few developers that have both functional programming skills, and financial services experience which is leading to the banks fishing from industries where functional programming is already embedded, industries such as pharmaceuticals and telecoms.

“While someone from a completely different industry won’t have the financial services sector knowledge – what they will have is the technical know, how to be able to impart the commercial application of a functional programming language.”

Ekins believes that they will be brought in to lead teams of developers. The banks are also looking at the world of academia. “Academics were early adopters of functional programming so represent another source of talent” he noted.

According to Ekins, the obvious consequence is that people with functional programming skills are becoming more valuable and can command significantly higher salaries within the financial services sector. “A SCALA developer working in the pharmaceutical sector will probably be earning in the region of £45k while within financial services, they could easily be looking at c£70k.”


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