Find Out the Job Demand & Salary for Financial Technology (Fintech)& Banktech in Malaysia 2020 – Randstad
Digital takes over traditional banking activities
As of July 2019, there were 329 fintech start-ups in Malaysia, and we expect this number to continue to rise in 2020. And even though as many as 82% of FIs see fintechs as a threat to their business, many have started their own digital transformation journey to embrace the change that is powered by technology.
Fintechs typically boast an expansive portfolio of new and innovative products and solutions, offering talent the opportunity to pioneer innovations that could change the future of finance. Banktechs, refers to technology used in banking, are also keeping up with the changes, offering new online services and AI-powered chatbots that can help consumers resolve simple issues within minutes.
Fintechs and banktechs are racing neck-to-neck to build tech teams and enhance their workforce capabilities to meet such business demands.
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Shortage of skilled talent in fintech and banktech stalling growth in Malaysia
Fintech – a boost to the local economy
Financial Technology – or more commonly known as
fintech – provides a variety of services such as e-wallet,
payments, loans and even SME corporate banking.
Bank Negara Malaysia mandates that all fintechs have
to be subjected to similar regulations as FIs (financial
institutions), which meant they would experience similar
red tapes and operational hurdles as traditional financial
However, the landscape changed when the central bank
launched the Regulatory Sandbox in October 2016, as
a space for fintechs to conduct experiments, pilot their
technology and assess risks. This initiative greatly helped
fintech firms to earn consumer trust, increasing their
share of wallet and customers. Since then, the number of
fintechs has increased exponentially as they found ways
to shorten the processes it would take to transact, thereby
meeting customers’ expectations of a quicker, more
efficient and fuss-free banking system.
The fintech space is further supported by the MDEC
(Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation), which prepares
entrepreneurs and start-ups for the Malaysian business
landscape. MDEC conducts regulatory bootcamps for
start-ups to get them up to speed, and collaborates with
several industry bodies such as Orbit, Fintech Academy
and the Digital Finance Innovation Hub to accelerate
As of July 2019, there were 329 fintech start-ups in
Malaysia, and we expect this number to continue to rise in
2020. Local talent demand is also expected to increase,
which is in-line with the expansion of the fintech sector.
Even though as many as 82% of FIs see fintechs as a
threat to their business, many have started their own
transformation journey to embrace the change that is
powered by technology.
Shortage of skilled talent in fintech and banktech stalling growth
As more global companies face cost-cutting measures,
many firms from the U.S., China and even Singapore are
choosing to offshore their shared services to Malaysia.
Some of these include development centres, data and
network centres as well as engineering services for
Fintechs and banktechs are racing neck-to-neck to build
tech teams and enhance their workforce capabilities to
meet business demands. Companies which do not have
the right skilled talent could run the risk of losing out
on new business opportunities that could propel their
Fintechs typically boast an expansive portfolio of new
and innovative products and solutions, offering talent the
opportunity to pioneer innovations that could change the
future of finance. Banktechs are also keeping up with the
changes, offering new online services and AI-powered
chatbots that can help consumers resolve simple issues
Due to the growth in this space, we observe that middlelevel professionals are more likely to make the leap to join
fintechs, especially if they are not promised a promotion
or a substantial salary hike in the next 12 months. A career
in fintech is perceived to be more exciting, as employees
are often presented with opportunities to be creative
and innovative in the way they work. Fintechs, especially
young start-ups and firms with large VC investments, are
also more likely to reward high performers with fasttracked promotions in an effort to retain them.
Innovations to improve efficiencies
Fintech firms and banktech teams are also highly
focussed on building their capabilities in ML/AI (machine
learning/artificial intelligence) and RPA (robotics process
According to a Forrester report, the global RPA market
will increase to US$2.9 billion by 2021, from US$250
million in 2016 – a 1160% jump. Furthermore, ML/AI can
make RPA smarter and free the technology from its highly
routine activities, further increasing its value and appeal
to investors and businesses.
RPAs are programmed to complete labour-intensive
administrative tasks, such as helping users activate their
credit card for overseas use, or to cancel and replace
their lost debit cards. The introduction of RPA is aimed at
reducing manual work, so that employees can focus on
other more complex work or engage with their customers.
Lab Consulting said that RPA can reduce up to 70% of
the need for repetitive manual work tasks, such as data
reconciliation and transcription.
Companies are increasing their investments in RPA
as these technologies tend to reap high returns and
drive operational efficiencies almost immediately upon
implementation. This would also include building new and
more targeted algorithms to improve user experience and
expand their customer pool through ML/AI.
Experts equipped with niche skills in new technologies
such as ML/AL and RPA will be highly sought-after. In
particular, talent experienced in programming languages
like Python will see strong demand. While enterprise
Java applications and other programming languages
like Golang are popular, employers are placing a higher
priority on Python as the foundation skill for tech talent.
finding talent with transferable skills
Similar to the talent challenges we see in other mature
markets, fintechs in Malaysia faces a shortage of skilled
professionals. Instead of relying on past working
experience, firms have been assessing talent more on
their transferable skills such as learning potential, ability to
problem-solve and stakeholder relationship management.
Employers in fintech and banktech would need to keep
an open mind when considering candidates from other
sectors such as technology or e-commerce as they
not only may not have the relevant product knowledge
and their customer profiles would also tend to differ
largely. Instead, these candidates can bring with them
a outside-in perspective and introduce new ideas on
driving efficiency and change to both secure and retain
With the extremely limited talent pool, employers will
tend to focus less on such technical skills and knowledge
during the interview process, and take a longer-term
view on upskilling these talent and get them up to speed
through product training once they have come on board.
Fintech – meeting candidates’ expectations
Unlike many traditional FIs where remuneration packages
are typically based on job titles, job grades and fixed
salary bands, fintechs tend to be more progressive in the
way they remunerate talent. A number of them are willing
to pay the market rate plus the perceived value they feel
the tech candidate can bring to the company.
Some senior-level professionals may even receive equity
as part of their remuneration packages, especially if they
are highly pursued by young start-ups. This would also
increase their loyalty to the company as business success
would often translate to higher pay.
While salary remains a highly attractive factor, employee
benefits have also become increasingly important to the
local workforce. Fintechs are known for their agility and
flexible work culture. In addition to its non-bureaucratic
structures, employees will also get to work from home and
Talent in this space particularly value opportunities to
upskill themselves either through on-the-job training or
exposure to networking events. The younger generation is
eager to add value and contribute to business goals, and
will look for employers that can help elevate their skills
and expand their knowledge. Onboarding and training
programmes to help fresh graduates transit from school
to the working environment are also highly-valued.
The fintech industry in Malaysia is set to grow significantly
over the next few years, which will undoubtedly lead to
more hiring. Despite the strong interest, the decision
to move into this relatively new industry is still not an
easy one for candidates. Unless they come from another
fintech firm, their skills and knowledge will never be a
perfect match for the role.
To meet acute shortfall in skills and high demand for
talent, fintechs must offer a robust onboarding plan as
well as adequate training and development programmes
to help their new hires better adjust to the new
environment. These could include on-the-job training,
mentorship programmes and even buddy systems.
Fintechs are just scratching the surface with payments,
loans and financing. There are many other different areas
within the financial services space that they have yet to
disrupt. As such, the industry presents plenty of new and
exciting opportunities for those who choose to venture
and explore a career in fintech.
Salary for Fintech Professionals in Malaysia