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Peer2Peer Finance News | August 20, 2019

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Do you need a degree to get into peer-to-peer?

Do you need a degree to get into peer-to-peer?
Marc Shoffman

THE ANNUAL university versus straight to work debate has begun after A Level results were revealed on Thursday, so do you need a degree to get into peer-to-peer lending and fintech?

Shoreditch-based recruitment consultants Give a Grad a Go says technical roles can be a little more stringent on qualifications but it can vary, and often potential is more valuable.

“Entry roles into fintech tend to be quite client-focused, which usually suits graduates who have some form of face-to-face experience,” Cary Curtis, managing director of Give a Grad a Go, told Peer2Peer Finance News.

“These roles are more tailored to graduates rather than school leavers mainly because of the responsibilities of the role. That said, if there’s a proven sales-focused candidate with the right level of experience, but who doesn’t have a degree, they would definitely be considered.

“For tech roles, they tend to be more suitable for computer science graduates but if a tech whiz is available without a degree and can demonstrate they have the know how and working knowledge of the tech stack required for the role, then they would definitely be of interest.”

The founders of some of the biggest P2P platforms in the UK are university educated.

Funding Circle founder Samir Desai read economics and management at Oxford, where Zopa’s Giles Andrews studied experimental psychology. RateSetter’s Rhydian Lewis is a Modern Languages graduate from Bristol University.

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As with any finance job, there are some roles in P2P and fintech that require specialist knowledge that may be more suitable for a graduate, but firms tend to be less prescriptive.

John Goodall, Landbay co-founder, a Durham University graduate and former A Level teacher, argues that platforms need diverse skill-sets.

“While technical skills are required within both technology and finance, university is not necessarily the only place that those skills can be learned,” he said.

“Landbay’s team is made up of people from a broad range of academic and non-academic backgrounds, each member bringing their own expertise, energy and experience to our business.”

Read more: Government digital adviser says UK faces tech skills shortage

A RateSetter spokesperson said the platform would always hire the best person for the job, but adds that a qualification will be helpful for applicants for technical or specialist roles.

This is a view echoed by Folk2Folk.

“Having a degree qualification can be beneficial but is not the main consideration when recruiting for talent,” Mat Gazeley, spokesperson for Folk2Folk, said.

“We take a deeper look at the individual’s work experience and past achievements as well as their business contacts or technical skills.

“Within a P2P platform there are multiple roles from sales, admin, marketing, business development, IT, credit risk, finance and operational which tend to be learnt on the job rather than from a specific degree.

“For people looking to get into the sector, having a degree in certain areas like computing, finance, marketing or business can be an advantage but not having a degree is by no means a barrier to entry.”

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