Revolut, Monzo and Starling: Who should you join in 2023?
The London fintech space is a highly competitive one and that heated battleground is typified by its thriving digibanks. While there are far more than just these three, the names that most commonly come up in the conversation are Monzo, Starling and Revolut.
For aspiring fintech employees, making the choice between the top players may not be easy. Here's an inside look at each of them, exploring company culture, what you'll be paid and the roles they currently have on offer.
Revolut's culture is the most discussed. It just so happens that it's also the most divisive. Revolut demands the best talent and pushes its employees to work very hard. Some love it, some hate it, but what's undeniable is the respect working for Revolut can earn you.
Revolut's score of 2.9 stars on forum site Blind reflects the divisiveness, but reviews since December have been more positive. They praise the "flat hierarchies" where "you can expect a lot of responsibilities and accountability if you're up for it." On the other hand, they also criticise the lack of transparency in Revolut's hiring policies, which don't "make sure candidates have the right expectations."
With over 6000 employees, Revolut has the most staff. It's big, it's growing, but it's not easy. Make sure you understand what you're getting into.
Monzo also been growing over the past year, attracting talent from a number of respected institutions like Goldman Sachs and... Revolut 👀. It now has over 1,800 employees and the culture seems to be improving in 2023.
Monzo reviews on Glassdoor sit at an average of 3.8 stars all time, but that number goes up to a flat 4 stars for average reviews in 2023. Engineers praise its "innovative environment, focused on delivering the best quality software." Catering to hybrid workers, they have "nice offices but no pressure to visit if you prefer working from home."
On the other hand, there may be some negatives. One reviewer claims that "the data department is a total mess, without anyone accountable." A customer operations professional says his mental health suffered.
Starling has grown massively in recent years and hired 696 people in the year to March 2022, bringing its total employees to 1,941 people.
Starling also doesn't rank that highly on Glassdoor, with 3.9 stars. Reviews in 2023 show a slight deterioration with an average score of 3.6 stars.
Positive reviews say Starling "encourages engagement and innovation." From a software development perspective, they say it is "a very engineering focused bank, highly recommended for engineers."
Negative reviews say they are "constantly micromanaged" with "no clear way to know how to get a promotion."
Who pays the most?
When Revolut released its financial results this month, one of the most surprising aspects was just how low average pay was, at just $24.4k (£29k).
However, this across all their divisions and all locations, given that Revolut is a global company. The average pay for a software engineer at Revolut in 2023 is $82,367 according to Levels.fyi, with London based engineers earning over $126k. Glassdoor estimates that the average base pay for engineers in the UK is $102.8k
Monzo's salary data is quite impressive from an engineering perspective. Average compensation in 2022 was $136.5k. However, that number may be inflated comparative to the other digibanks due to Monzo's New York presence.
Glassdoor estimates that average software engineering base pay in the UK is $93k. There is plenty of room to grow however as Levels reported a UK based engineer earning $199.5k with a base salary of $139.4k.
Starling Bank pay in 2023 seems quite varied for engineers: the highest salary reported on Levels is $142.5k while the lowest is $62.8k. Both engineers are London based.
Unfortunately, for the average developer, the pay seems to err towards the lower end. Glassdoor estimates the average salary for a software engineer to be $80.9k, far below the average of the other two.
Who is hiring?
Revolut has 251 open positions, 73 of which are available in London.
At present, there are just four open listings for engineering roles in London. Most of the open positions are in risk audit and compliance, which is a hotly contested market for them; they have received over 29k applications for just 62 positions, 26 of which can be UK based.
The need for those kinds of employee will surely have been fast-tracked to the forefront after a highly criticised debacle regarding a high possibility of misstatement from their 2021 financial results.
Revolut also recently launched a graduate scheme and is heavily interested in hiring younger employees.
Monzo is recruiting at a slightly slower pace, with 33 open roles in the UK in addition to a US CEO based in San Francisco. 🌉
Monzo wants some senior engineers. It's looking for a director of data science, a senior machine learning scientist and a staff engineer for business banking.
Beyond engineering, one of the primary teams they are hiring for is their FinCrime division.
Starling currently has 55 open positions across its UK offices.
Many are technology-focused. Starling has 19 open technology roles, including Android, IOS, Java and infrastructure engineers.
The seniormost engineering role is a delivery director for Starling's proprietary cloud native banking-as-a-service platform, Engine.
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