Despite the abysmal state of crypto markets globally, the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry is experiencing a downpour of jobs, thanks to venture funding.
Sample this: As per data from CB Insights, crypto, blockchain and Web 3.0-based startups raised a record-high of $9.2 billion globally during the first quarter of 2022. DeFi-based entities raised $2.1 billion and NFT startups with $2.4 billion funding were particular winners.
LinkedIn data revealed that search for crypto-related jobs in the US burgeoned almost 395% between 2020 and 2021, compared to 98% rise in other tech jobs.
This, despite American exchanges like Coinbase slowing down their plans to hire 2,000 people by the end of 2022. Notably, the company had reported lower-than-anticipated quarterly earnings and losses worth $430 million.
Closer home, there are lots of green shoots in crypto funding. Insights from Venture Intelligence suggest that crypto-based Indian startups managed to raise over $890 million over a span of 28 deals between January and April 2022. April saw fund inflows worth $274 million in this space.
DEARTH OF TALENT?
Praveen Kumar, Founder and CEO, Belfrics Group, says attracting good talent has been tough. “There is a scarcity of people that have both the requisite skills and experience. Right now, even those with four or more years of experience lack the necessary skill sets. This is one of the major challenges. There is a severe dearth of technical people in India’s blockchain ecosystem as well”, he said.
Vikram Subburaj, CEO, Giottus Crypto Platform, agreed. “Getting quality tech developers is a tough task,” he said, adding his platform has tripled their employee count over the past eight months.
One of India’s most popular crypto platforms, CoinDCX, is projected to touch the 1,000-employee mark by the end of 2022. Its workforce grew almost four times over the past year, say company officials.
Even in organisations where candidate remuneration is unconventional and more passion-driven, talent issues persist. Take MahaDAO for instance, which focuses on hiring members from within their community. “Hiring at MahaDAO has previously faced a dearth of candidates for roles pertaining to Blockchain/Solidity due to the high demand for developers and UI designers. There is a definite shortage of talent, specifically in the Web3 space,” said founder Steven Enamakel.
Bidhuna Babu, Chief of Staff at UniFarm, said that individuals with foundational 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.
Hence, agility, adaptability, passion and willingness to pick up on the dynamic changes in the field are a must. In addition, soft skills like problem-solving and the ability to distill complex ideas into easy, digestible terms is also necessary.
In crypto’s non-tech vertical, there is a particular surge in demand for growth hackers, community and content managers.
“India is becoming a development hub for Web3 platforms. Currently, we are observing a surge in 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 driving the current Web 2.0 world is what will lay the foundation for Web 3.0 talent. Mudita Chauhan, Head HR, CoinDCX, said: “In terms of hiring, Engineering, Compliance, Information Security and Operations are top priority. But someone who has a background in Python, Rust, java, C++, AWS, Discord, digital art can quickly develop into superstar web3 talent”.
Gender-wise, there’s a long way to go. The tech space, for long, has been a male bastion. And given how central this emerging tech is to the entire crypto and blockchain ecosystem, the gender ratio in most companies remains heavily skewed in favour of men. Women form only about 25% of workforce even in prominent exchanges like CoinDCX.
REMOTE IS THE NEW NORMAL
In terms of job preferences, Enamakel highlighted how remote working and freelancing is the norm for their company, which has its employees working from countries like USA, Nigeria, UK and China.
“There are fewer employees and more freelancers in the blockchain space. Developers and marketing teams indulge in multiple projects and there’s a lack of commitment to one single employee due to the plethora of opportunities in the market. Candidates prefer working on projects where they get paid on an hourly basis for their completed milestones,” he elaborated.
According to Babu, companies are increasingly opening up to onboarding international employees, especially from countries like Dubai, Singapore and Korea.
It, however, doesn’t mean that the value of Indian talent has diminished. “The average salary for an individual with minimum one year of experience in blockchain and associated sectors is upwards of Rs 45K. With experience and knowledge, sky is the limit,” said Babu.
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