Despite the dire state of crypto markets worldwide, the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry is experiencing a deluge of jobs, thanks to venture capital.
Case in point: According to data from CB Insights, crypto, blockchain and Web 3.0-based startups raised a record high of $9.2 billion globally in the first quarter of 2022. DeFi-based entities raised $2.1 billion and NFT startups with $2.4 billion funding were certain winners.
LinkedIn data showed that crypto-related job searches in the US grew nearly 395% between 2020 and 2021, compared to a 98% increase in other tech jobs.
This is despite the fact that US exchanges such as Coinbase have delayed their plans to hire 2,000 people by the end of 2022. Notably, the company had reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings and losses of $430 million.
Closer to home, there are many green shoots in crypto financing. Insights from Venture Intelligence suggest that cryptocurrency-based Indian startups raised more than $890 million over 28 deals between January and April 2022. In April, we saw a $274 million inflow into this space.
Praveen Kumar, founder and CEO of Belfrics Group, says it is difficult to attract good talent. “There is a shortage of people who have both the required skills and experience. At the moment, even those with four or more years of experience lack the necessary skills. This is one of the big challenges. There is also a serious lack of tech people in India’s blockchain ecosystem,” he said.
Vikram Subburaj, CEO, Giottus Crypto Platform, agreed. “Getting high-quality technical developers is a tough job,” he said, adding that his platform has tripled its workforce in the past eight months.
One of India’s most popular crypto platforms, CoinDCX, is expected to reach 1,000 employees by the end of 2022. The workforce has grown nearly four-fold in the past year, company officials say.
Even in organizations where candidate compensation is unconventional and driven more by passion, talent problems persist. Take MahaDAO, for example, which focuses on recruiting members from their community. “Hiring from MahaDAO has previously faced a shortage of candidates for roles related to Blockchain/Solidity due to high demand for developers and UI designers. There is a clear talent shortage, especially in the Web3 space,” said founder Steven Enamake.
Bidhuna Babu, chief of staff at UniFarm, said individuals with fundamental knowledge and aptitude in blockchain architecture, coding, web development, DeFi, Smart Contracts, and programming languages like Solidity, Python, etc. have an edge over others.
“The most needed skill in a candidate today is knowledge about the crypto and web3 ecosystem. But unfortunately, most of the talent pool is unaware of the ecosystem,” said Sricharan C, Head of Human Resources at WazirX.
Therefore agility, adaptability, passion and willingness to pick up the dynamic changes in the field are a must. In addition, soft skills such as problem solving and the ability to distil complex ideas into easy, digestible terms are also necessary.
In the crypto non-technical industry, there is a particularly strong demand for growth hackers, community and content managers.
“India is becoming a development center for Web3 platforms. We are currently seeing a wave of hiring opportunities for Blockchain developers, app developers, UI/UX designers, front-end and back-end developers, data analytics professionals, content writers, and business development/partnership in the Web 3 space,” Babu said. .
The skills that power today’s Web 2.0 world will lay the foundation for Web 3.0 talent. Mudita Chauhan, Head HR, CoinDCX, said: “In terms of recruiting, engineering, compliance, information security and operations are top priorities. But someone with a background in Python, Rust, java, C++, AWS, Discord, digital arts can quickly develop into superstar web3 talent”.
As far as gender is concerned, there is still a long way to go. The technical room has long been a man’s bastion. And given how central this emerging technology is to the entire crypto and blockchain ecosystem, the gender balance in most companies remains sharply skewed in favor of men. Women make up only about 25% of the workforce, even in prominent exchanges like CoinDCX.
DISTANCE IS THE NEW NORMAL
As for work preferences, Enakel highlighted how remote working and freelancing is the norm for their company, whose employees work from countries like the US, Nigeria, UK and China.
“There are fewer employees and more freelancers in the blockchain space. Developers and marketing teams are involved in multiple projects and there is a lack of commitment to a single employee due to the plethora of opportunities in the market. Candidates prefer to work on projects where they are paid on an hourly basis for their completed milestones,” he explained.
According to Babu, companies are increasingly opening up to onboarding international employees, especially from countries such as Dubai, Singapore and Korea.
However, it does not mean that the value of Indian talent has declined. “The average salary for a person with at least one year of experience in blockchain and related industries is more than Rs 45K. With experience and knowledge, sky is the limit,” says Babu.
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