Revolut & other fintechs are using a talent hub loved by banks and hedge funds
As funding dries up for fintechs, there grows an increasing pressure from investors to maximize the potential of their financial runway. For many, outsourcing is the most viable option, but few locations have the correct calibre of talent at an affordable wage cost. Thankfully, however, there's already a tried and tested location of cheap developers in Europe: Poland.
Mathew Abbot, associate director of recruitment firm Charles Levick, says "for an entire middle office function, plus engineers, Poland is going to be your most viable option." Poland is not just cost-effective, it's quick to set up too; Abbot says it takes just "a few months to a year" to set up an entire team.
Engineering talent is also exceptional there. Vax Bahram, founder of executive search firm Durlston Partners, told us that "all the best C++ developers" have historically come from Polish universities.
It's the financial services experience, however, that makes the pool invaluable. JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Citi have been in Poland for a while. Abbot says the country has talent that's been trained-up both by these banks and by hedge funds like Point72.
The other alternative for cost-constrained fintechs might be India, but Abbot says the "Indian market is a lot more turbulent" and the average job tenure is much lower. Fintechs want to avoid a "repetitive cycle" of hiring and the costs associated with it.
So who's hiring in Poland? Far and away the most prolific recruiter in 2024 is Revolut amid its rapid headcount expansion plans. It's hired almost 200 employees there in the past year, including more than 80 in the past three months.
It's not just developers that Revolut is after in Poland. It recently hired Grzegorz Owsianik, a financial controller that spent a decade working across both State Street and HSBC, who joined last month. Matesuz Petromichelis, a senior financial crime analyst, joined from Credit Suisse in November.
UBS technologists also have a home in fintech. Krzysztof Kucybała spent eight years at the Swiss bank, and contracted at Goldman Sachs before joining IPO-bound payments firm Zilch last February. Cloud-native payments platform, Form3, hired UBS technical lead Krystian Kowalik more than a year ago.
Abbot estimates that salaries in the region are 60% lower than London, but that's not a certainty based on data from Levels.fyi. At Revolut, the average software engineer salary in Poland is $94k, just 44% lower than the London average of $166.6k.
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