Whilst finance, management consulting and law are still regarded as the industries of choice for the best and brightest graduates, another sector is becoming ever-more popular amongst ambitious twenty-somethings: crypto.
The sector – which currently employs around 190,000 people globally – boasts a far younger demographic than its more traditional counterparts. This is far from a coincidence. Instead, it is a direct result of crypto’s multifaceted appeal to young people, with the digital-assets industry quickly becoming one of the most sought-after and competitive career paths after university.
Perhaps most obviously, there is a serious financial incentive to take an entry role in the crypto sector. Whilst starting salaries are high – as they are in the other sectors previously mentioned – the less structured nature of the industry and its lack of regimented pay-scales creates the opportunity to obtain huge financial rewards more quickly than in other sectors.
Indeed, the whole industry has a fundamentally distinct approach to cash. Unlike other industries where the money earnt by companies is in return for a defined ‘service’ such as legal or consulting work, the huge amount of revenue that has come into the crypto sector has not been ‘earned’ in the same way. This has resulted in crypto companies having a comparatively flippant attitude towards the allocation of capital for salaries, as well as for marketing and sponsorship deals.
In addition to high salaries, there is also the potential for rapid career progression in crypto. Unlike industries like law – where the regimented career path to become ‘partner’ is inextricably linked to the years spent in the industry – no-one in the crypto sector has forty years of experience.
Consequently, a talented graduate can rise to a position of leadership very quickly and become a relative expert in just a few years, especially if their entry into the industry coincides with a crypto ‘boom’.
The volatility of the industry does provide an obvious downside. The potential for rapid career progression and the chance to ride the crest of a wave also comes with a high likelihood of losing your job. The digital-assets industry shed more than 2,000 jobs in the first two months of 2023 alone due to the fallout of the FTX collapse.
The incident demonstrates the industry’s volatility and the lack of fit-for-purpose legislation to regulate it, meaning that a similar event could happen again, with repercussions in terms of job cuts.
Whilst this boom-and-bust industry might not appeal to those in their thirties who – with families, children and mortgage payments – tend to value job security, the volatility does not significantly reduce the industry’s appeal to those in their mid-twenties, an age when risk-taking should be encouraged.
It should also be noted that traditionally ‘safe’ industries are far from immune to market changes. Management consultancies worldwide are having to make significant proportions of their workforce redundant, with McKinsey announcing in February 2023 that it was making 2,000 of its 45,000 employees redundant.
As a technology-focused industry, crypto is well placed to embrace the AI revolution, which may threaten jobs in the legal and accounting sectors. As proponents of cutting-edge technology such as entrepreneur Roman Semiokhin can attest, specialist knowledge of fast-growing areas like blockchain technology will be invaluable in the years to come, given that the use of these technologies extends far beyond their use as currency.
The industry’s youth, emphasis on innovation and the resultant ‘start-up’ culture also gives people working in the sector the chance to try things out. Take marketing as an example. In crypto’s brief history, we have seen an array of innovative marketing campaigns.
Unlike traditional finance, the crypto industry is full of younger people trying to engage with a similarly young audience. Therefore, traditional marketing efforts – including the extensive array of sponsorship deals with sports teams – are complimented by clever partnerships with influencers.
In terms of practicalities, there are other aspects of the industry that entice certain graduates. Most crypto companies – which are often headquartered in places with low tax rates and favourable regulations – have a very progressive approach to remote working, something that certain graduates look for.
As a truly international industry, there is also the potential to travel to the various local offices of these companies, something that happens less and less in other industries due to environmental concerns and the advent of video calling.
Crypto also provides a great opportunity for women, as crypto companies are keen to address the industry’s current gender misbalance, with a BCG study from February 2023 finding that just 13% of Web3 founding teams involved a woman.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, typifies the attempts to address this imbalance; 34.7% of its employees are women and it is offering mentorship programmes and talent workshops to its female employees.
In the years to come, crypto will be recognised as a legitimate form of finance. It’s legitimacy as a career path should also be embraced.
For more information about this topic, visit Roman Semiokhin’s website: https://romansemiokhin.com