Building diversity in South Africa’s fintech divisions

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Diversity and representation are essential metrics for success for any progressive digital sector that wants to compete in the modern world. While the issue of diversity, and in particular gender balance has been slowly improving it seems fintech, in particular, is lagging behind its counterparts even in 2022.

Interestingly this is not an issue exclusive to South African businesses, the same challenges to diversification were universal across the world according to the recently published report from the Fintech Diversity Radar. Lack of inclusivity doesn’t just impact the culture of the modern workforce, it also reflects a deep-rooted miasma of apathy. A lack of agility and willingness to progress hamstrings a business from producing better solutions.

The more perspectives and the more diverse the fintech market, the more creative the innovations developed that benefit every consumer and business. This isn’t a logic exclusive to Fintech, it’s simply one of the sectors that are missing it the most. With this in mind let’s look into how some market-leading lenders in the fintech industry are paving the way for a more diverse workforce and how their experiences can help shape the future of the fintech industry.

Wonga Online – Sulungeka Faltein

Thirty-three-year old Sulungeka is a software engineer at the South African credit provider Wonga Online. Her journey is an interesting look at the drive it takes to reach influential roles in the fintech world, breaking down barriers to prove her knowledge and capability in an industry historically dominated by male leadership. “When I first started working in fintech, I had to break into the ‘boys’ club’ as the industry was dominated by men”

She now works in people management, supporting a team of developers and software engineers, adapting features to provide outstanding customer experiences. A role that is well-positioned to foster additional diversity in the years to come.

PaySafe Group – Paulette Rowe

As CEO of the integrated and e-commerce solutions provider, Paula says that she would like to see more female representation in:

  • Senior management roles
  • Working at board level
  • Commercial leadership

US female founders reached a record in 2019, but there remains a disproportionate representation throughout. The firm has joined the British Women in Finance Charter to establish ways to support more women into senior roles within fintech.

Neufund – Zoe Adamovicz

Adamovicz has founded no less than six successful technology enterprises and co-founded Xyo, the app search engine sold to NASDAQ in 2014. She is now co-founder and CEO of Neufund, an investment platform making portfolio management inclusive, straightforward and secure.

Why fintech has a long way to go to reach diversity targets

Part of the problem is attracting talented individuals to the Fintech sector, to begin with.

  • Only 35% of UK STEM students at college level are female.
  • Women hold 23% of bank board roles, but only 14% in fintech.
  • Gender pay gaps stand at 17.3% in Britain between men and women performing the same roles.

Some inspiring women are running extremely successful fintech businesses, supported by male colleagues, but they remain few and far between. It’s high time fintech sped up the process and join the world of the 2020s, open its doors and actively work to attract a more diverse pool of talented professionals across the spectrum of humanity – it will be all the better for it.

The post Building diversity in South Africa’s fintech divisions appeared first on Ventures Africa.


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