With many areas of financial services still dominated by men, role models in FinTech are more important than ever. Without sufficient women to look up to, young women and girls may not consider FinTech to be an option for them.
That’s why we regularly spotlight the career paths of women in the industry – how they got there, where they find support and what advice they’d give those considering a career in FinTech.
This week, we caught up with Amanda Lieu, Director Brand, Product Marketing & Growth at SEON.
How did you get into the FinTech space?
I’m a digital native at heart and have always been excited about tech, and the possibilities it brings. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been writing code, and building websites. That’s carried on into my professional career, and I remain interested about what we can create in the digital space and how we can construct exciting digital experiences with new technologies.
Financial services is one of the core verticals that I’ve worked in throughout my career. When you combine that with my love of tech then I think FinTech is the natural fit for me. It’s the sector where my experiences and skills can really come into play. In one way or another, I’ve been working with FinTechs for the last 10 years now, and I love it!
Why do you think there remains such a gender imbalance in FinTech?
It's a complex question, as there are clearly a multitude of different factors at play. However, some of the core issues that come to my mind are, an interest gap, a representation gap, and a salary gap. By addressing some of these issues, we can begin to take steps in the right direction, but it’s highly unlikely to be a quick fix.
There’s a general lack of awareness of the career potential in the tech sector at a very young age. When this is then combined with a lack of representation and awareness of women in tech, it creates very little inspiration for young girls to join the field. Those who do have that interest may be put off by a salary gap that exists across the sector, which is very frustrating.
What is being done to correct this and what would you like to see?
There have certainly been positive steps forward in recent years but overcoming issues like this takes time and requires consistent work and engagement. Some leading tech companies have made strong efforts to elevate women in tech in the last few years, which has gone some way to helping to create a bit more parity.
Likewise, some schools are now doing great work to better highlight the appeal of a career in tech to young girls. Unfortunately, many educational institutions have been unable to follow suit, often owing to a lack of budget and an inability to access the curriculums and technologies needed to do this for their students. Access to tech in developing countries still looks very different.
We can inspire, encourage and support children's interest in tech during their early years, regardless of gender. Perhaps it's a generational thing. The younger generation naturally lives and breathes technology.
I’m really excited about what’s in store for this next wave of young ‘techies’. It finally feels like things are evolving in our sector, and this new generation might provide the final push needed to ensure this change is permanent. There are still some old mindsets and beliefs that need to be overcome, but we’ve never been closer.
Why do you think having a more diverse range of people working in FinTech is important – how will it impact the products and services that are developed in the future?
Engaging with alternative views can help to expand your thinking. They are vital in promoting open-mindedness, challenging assumptions, and enabling the exploration of new, and important perspectives. Differences can be difficult and sometimes awkward, but healthy debate and diversity in thought is always refreshing, and it’s often what leads to innovation.
What’s the biggest challenge you’re dealing with currently in your career?
Talent is very hard to find, and even harder to curate. A lot of my passion revolves around how we nurture potential, and how we do this earlier, and ultimately more effectively. If we are serious about building a world without boundaries, then are we really doing enough to find, elevate and nurture potential, regardless of gender and background?
At the same time, are we really giving everyone a fair chance to make an impact? If we did, would the gaps that we’ve discussed, such as the ones in gender, interest, representation, and salary continue to exist? I battle with these questions a lot, and they form part of the reason why I believe more diversity is needed across the sector.
Where do you find support in the FinTech world?
I think you can find support from everywhere if you remain open to it. I never close myself off to guidance and believe that you can learn something from anyone. At SEON, I’m lucky to be surrounded with a great team, mentors and coaches. I also have a network of previous bosses, leaders, and ex-colleagues who are now friends, to call upon in times of need.
Across my career, I’ve met so many fantastic people, all of whom have helped me in different ways. I cherish all these relationships and continue to seek their advice as I build on my skills. This extends to my LinkedIn network, which I often use as a source of inspiration and can always draw upon when fresh perspective is needed.
What advice would you give other women who want to work in FinTech?
It’s important to always remain curious about the field, and to be brave enough to reach out to ask questions, and for support. It really makes a difference. FinTech is one of the intersections where tech and innovation meet, and it’s helping to shape what modern businesses look like. If you’re passionate about building our digital future, then it’s a great place to start.