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Crypto job postings are up +615% as big banks staff up: LinkedIn

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LinkedIn Editor-at-Large of Business and Finance Devin Banerjee joins Yahoo Finance's Sibile Marcellus to break down the surge in crypto related jobs.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: We keep hearing about the great resignation and how hard it is to get Americans back on the job. But according to LinkedIn, when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain talent, demand is soaring. With this week's latest installment of Career Control, here's Sibile Marcellus.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: Demand for cryptocurrency and blockchain talent is booming. According to LinkedIn, it's at the highest level it's ever been. US job postings with the words "cryptocurrency" or "blockchain" have grown 615% over the past year. And big banks are major drivers of this. I want to bring in LinkedIn's editor at large of business and finance, Devin Banerjee, to break this down for us. Now, Devin, how big is this demand for crypto talent? And what's behind this surge in hiring by big banks?

DEVIN BANERJEE: The demand's huge, Sibile. As you said, the job postings for this kind of talent are up more than 600% over the past year. And we're seeing this across the big banks. And that's really the sea change over the past few years. If you remember a few years ago, big banks were the ones kind of hesitant and scratching their heads over the adoption of cryptocurrency and the need for crypto talent, but now they're getting in the game.

Our data show that these job postings are across the major banks, from the largest in the United States like JP Morgan to Goldman Sachs, to Credit Suisse, to Citigroup, to Bank of New York, to Barclays. And so that is a real tipping point, in my opinion, in this crypto ecosystem.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And what types of roles are banks hiring for? I'm seeing, for instance, that banks are seeking engineers and tech professionals to build blockchain platforms. What does that kind of a job entail?

DEVIN BANERJEE: So if you think about these crypto projects, yes, there is a technology that needs to be built, that underlying blockchain ledger technology. So software engineers are in huge demand. Crypto is also a product that needs to be sold and marketed and explained to customers and clients. So sales and marketing roles are also on the rise. And then the third thing I would mention is security is so important around crypto assets. These are clients' assets, clients' money that they're moving around the world. So security architects are also roles that we are seeing on the rise.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And Devin, what is compensation like for these types of roles? Based on your research, how much higher can the salaries of crypto experts be compared to their peers in non-crypto-related jobs?

DEVIN BANERJEE: Because demand is so high for these roles, Sibile, there is upward pressure on pay. One compensation consultant told Bloomberg a few days ago he's seeing about 20% to 50% pay jumps for this talent compared to the roles from which they were coming before. That upper bound of that range, 50%, is typically for heads of divisions, like trading heads, for example.

But I would mention it's not just pay bumps that banks are employing to attract this talent. They also need to change certain elements of their culture. This talent is coming from the startup ecosystem a lot of the time, where they're used to moving more quickly. They're used to more transparency. They're used to more diversity. So for my story, I spoke with an executive at BNY Mellon, one of the banks that's hiring a lot of this talent, and he said they need to become more agile. They need to become more transparent. They need to become more diverse in order to attract this talent.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And speaking of culture, so are you saying that big banks, it's not enough to just offer a high salary? They really have to figure out how they can get these crypto experts to really embrace a regulated environment, because that's what they'd be working at in a big bank.

DEVIN BANERJEE: That's absolutely right, too. There is a war for talent out there, Sibile. The banks are realizing they need to change a lot. So pay, we talked about. Culture, we talked about. But also, the kinds of talent they're bringing in to the bank to interview for these roles, they're checking that these folks are comfortable working in a more regulated environment. Banks have a lot of regulatory responsibilities and burdens. They want innovative talent, but they want to make sure that talent is accustomed to working within the bounds of existing regulatory frameworks, because the banks, as you know, do not want to step outside of those bounds.

SIBILE MARCELLUS: And Devin, if you're a job seeker with crypto expertise, what should you know before deciding to accept a job offer from a big bank?

DEVIN BANERJEE: So, look, the pitch from the big banks is, we have lots of resources. We have huge balance sheets to invest in these projects. We have those regulatory relationships. We have an embedded customer and client base, to which we can deploy these technologies. But if you're that job seeker, you need to recognize that you would be stepping into this regulated environment. You would be stepping into what a lot of people call the more legacy long-standing institutions on Wall Street, for example.

So there is a little bit of an irony in here, Sibile. And actually, we had hundreds of LinkedIn members commenting on our story with their own expertise here. And I would just point out one comment that really summed it up nicely. It's from John, a technology consultant. He says it's ironic that these large centralized institutions are embracing decentralized finance. But consumer is king. And these banks need to adapt in order to survive. So if you're that job seeker, you have to recognize that you are stepping into the legacy world of finance to work on the future of finance. That's a little ironic, so you want to do your full due diligence, of course.