Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa

The Fintech Awards last year. PHOTO | COURTESY
Winners at the Fintech Awards last year. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Once benefits and allowances are taken into consideration, the monthly compensation for executives is Sh2.27 million (Sh27.3 million annually) while senior management take home a package of Sh1.27 million (Sh15.2 million or $147,148 annually).

In comparison, fintech firms in Nigeria, the country with the next highest levels of compensation, pay executives an annual base salary of Sh22 million ($213,731).

Tanzanian and South African companies pay Sh18.3 million ($177,947) and Sh15.8 million ($152,806) per year respectively. The survey was carried out among 400 respondents in 69 companies in 10 African countries.

The data collected by DFI, a non-profit research firm which provides training in fintech, show that the trend of higher salaries in Kenya trickles down the job scale to professional and skilled employees. This data is a reflection of the vibrancy of the local fintech scene where startups are marrying technology and financial services to address problems that range from credit access for farmers to health insurance.

High levels of compensation are also underpinned by stiff competition for fintech talent in Kenya and beyond. Sixty four per cent of respondents told the DFI that competition for talent had the highest impact on the ability to hire and retain employees.

Head-hunting from the competition is common as 56 per cent of respondents said that they find counter-offers an effective way of retaining employees. 

At the same time, 50 per cent of companies are concerned by the shortage of skilled workers while 43 per cent fear that their budgetary constraints will not allow them to bring on board the best workers.

The study by the Digital Frontiers Institute also shows that companies in Fintech have to do more than just offer attractive salaries if they want to keep employees.

Many of the respondents said that non-traditional pay and benefits were important.

84 per cent said that flexible working hours were extremely important while 47 per cent had similar sentiments about a liberal dress code. 40 per cent said the option of working from home was extremely important to them.

The Digital Frontiers Institute says that it plans on replicating the study every two years to monitor how the Fintech market is developing and maturing in the region.