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Career Advice: FinTech or Traditional Banking?

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The rise of technology has opened a lot of doors for many new industries, but one particular field that’s made a name for itself is Financial Technology (FinTech). An economic industry composed of companies that use technology to make financial services more efficient, the FinTech landscape is booming.

There are plenty of opportunities for both fresh graduates and experienced professionals in this industry, especially as the sector fights head-on with traditional banking to attract top talent.

While it’s hard to say either option is “better” than the other, they both offer very different perks and downsides, depending on what you’re looking to achieve.

The Pros and Cons:
Tagged as the safer option of the two, traditional banks tend to receive the most applications and candidates due its long-standing reputation as a solid career path in Hong Kong – and around the world. Working in a bank is a stable career option, which promises growth and opportunities with clear career paths. Really, there’s no other way than up as long as you do you job and do it well. From a money point of view, banking is likely to nab you a good salary. Traditional banks offer competitive wage packages, even for entry level positions, which we all know counts for a lot.

However, the FinTech landscape is on the up and up. Yes, many companies are considered ‘startups’, but they have the financial backing and investor support to grow quickly, offer competitive salaries and provide good career trajectory. From a work-life balance point of view, it’s hard to say which option wins – banking is quite traditional in its 9-5 approach, but then how often does anyone actually work until 5pm and then go home?

In both roles, there is almost no room for error. You’re dealing with money, credits, and people’s personal data and information. The pressure is on at both jobs, so you have to decide which you would prefer to handle.

From a culture perspective, FinTech is the fun new guy, and traditional banking is the old fuddy-duddy. This doesn’t mean banking isn’t a good option – it’s an incredible career path to learn and grow – but if your interest lies in being involved in up-and-coming industries, then you might want to look into FinTech roles. Management and work spaces tend to be more relaxed, and a collaborative environment is highly encouraged. FinTech allows its people to learn disruptive technologies firsthand and the startup culture, which is advantageous today. Working for this industry also means that you get to work more closely on the business.

While both industries are equally interesting and you’ll learn many things along the way, it’s important that you identify your priorities and goals when it comes to work.

If your priority is a stable job, good pay, and a traditional culture, then FinTech may not be the option for you. But if it’s innovation, entertainment and self-growth that you prioritise, then it could be worth looking into what else is out there.

Want a career in banking? Start looking for your next job in Hong Kong right here!

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