Fintech companies have a reputation for having a working culture that can be an acquired taste, especially for those moving from more traditional financial firms. The opportunity to work with cutting-edge technological developments, the vibrant startup culture and the potential stock options are enough to lure many to the sector, however. As with any industry, of course, some companies have a better work environment than others—and often it’s the employees themselves that can offer the best guidance as to the best and worst in the bunch.
That was the philosophy espoused by eFinancialCareers in a recent survey they conducted. The financial services career website leader took a look at the top private and public fintech firms; the top private firms were identified by their funding level and their valuation, while the public side was filled with many of the most established names in the industry. With this list of firms in hand, eFinancialCareers cross-referenced each company with the reviews left by its employees on Glassdoor.
The results were revealing. Out of the 17 fintech firms that were ranked, trading app Robinhood came out on top with an average employee ranking of 4.9 out of 5.0 (based on 59 reviews). Robinhood has experienced huge growth in the past year thanks to its addition of cryptocurrency trading, and the private company completed a $363 million funding round in 2018 as it approaches a valuation of $6 billion. This rapid growth hasn’t changed its workplace culture, however, according to its employees. Employee reviews note that Robinhood has maintained its cohesive culture, generous pay and substantial benefits package throughout.
The second-, third- and fourth-ranked companies were also private: automated lending platform Kabbage, money transfer service TransferWise and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, respectively. Indeed, a public company doesn’t show up on eFinancialCareers’ rankings until Square, which tied for seven with an average employee ranking of 4.1. Square is the single public fintech company that performed above average; every other public firm on the list (including PayPal, Lending Club, GreenSky and Markit) falls below—often far below—average.
What does this private/public split reveal? It appears that the restraints inherent in working for a public company don’t always appeal to those who joined for the startup experience. As one employee review of Lending Club noted, the public fintech firm is having a difficult time “stay[ing] a true fintech company.”