Ömer Güven Of Fintalent.io: “Increased use of non-traditional collaborative workspaces”

Increased use of non-traditional collaborative workspaces. Though shared workspaces have not always been a roaring success in recent years, a shift to increased levels of remote working will no doubt mean that traditional office spaces, with their high overhead costs for businesses, will be used less and less. However, I do not think that the […]

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Increased use of non-traditional collaborative workspaces. Though shared workspaces have not always been a roaring success in recent years, a shift to increased levels of remote working will no doubt mean that traditional office spaces, with their high overhead costs for businesses, will be used less and less. However, I do not think that the need for physical office space will disappear entirely. Instead, companies may need workspaces for short-term projects or individuals may wish to work in environments more conducive to work if their home workspace is not conducive to productive work habits. For example, those with young children or those without a dedicated office area in their home.


There have been major disruptions in recent years that promise to change the very nature of work. From the ongoing shifts caused by the COVID19 pandemic, the impacts caused by automation, and other possible disruptions to the status quo, many wonder what the future holds in terms of employment. For example, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute that estimated automation will eliminate 73 million jobs by 2030.

To address this open question, we reached out to successful leaders in business, government, and labor, as well as thought leaders about the future of work to glean their insights and predictions on the future of work and the workplace.

As a part of this interview series called “Preparing For The Future Of Work”, we had the pleasure to interview Ömer F. Güven, CFA.

Ömer Güven is the co-founder and CEO of Fintalent.io, an invite-only community of tier-1 M&A and Strategy professionals. Ömer has been in the VC, Investment Banking, and Asset Management industry for more than 10 years, starting his career with the Warburgs in Institutional Equity Research and Equity Sales. In his last appointment, Ömer served as the Investment Director and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for Fram^, a publicly-listed Swedish-Vietnamese Venture Builder. He holds a Chartered Financial Analyst Designation and is pursuing his external Ph.D. in Finance.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?

I am currently based in Austria, but over the last few years I have travelled and worked all over the world. After I pivoted from a traditional financial services career a few years ago, I began freelancing whilst I was travelling in South East Asia. I will never forget the feeling of successfully completing my first project as a freelance professional, even though it was only for a few hundred dollars, because it proved to me that I was able to earn without the need for a big brand or corporate infrastructure. I could use my skills and expertise to solve clients’ problems. It was around that time that the idea for Fintalent began to crystallize; I saw that the financial services industry in particular was slow on the uptake of freelance professionals and that there were a number of verticals that greatly suited this style of working.

What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?

I think the changes in mindset between the younger and older working generations are going to have the biggest impact on employers. Especially in the financial services industry, we are beginning to see a generation of younger workers who are looking to make an impact with their careers beyond a large take-home pay, and employees are no longer being incentivized by large salaries and benefits to sacrifice their work-life balance during the early stages of their career to the same extent as in the past.

The choice as to whether or not a young person should pursue a college degree was once a “no-brainer”. But with the existence of many high profile millionaires (and billionaires) who did not earn degrees, as well as the fact that many graduates are saddled with crushing student loan debt and unable to find jobs it has become a much more complex question. What advice would you give to young adults considering whether or not to go to college?

I would say that they should attempt to pursue something they can derive a sense of fulfilment from. Whether that be a college degree they have a passion for (and it need not be a vocational subject) or an apprenticeship scheme, if you enjoy what you are doing and excel in it then opportunities will come your way. There is no one way of doing things and often I think people find themselves running on a treadmill from school, to college, through to a career that they ran into headlong with no alternatives. Sometimes the best opportunities can come from chance encounters or develop out of seemingly innocuous beginnings.

Despite the doom and gloom predictions, there are, and likely still will be, jobs available. How do you see job seekers having to change their approaches to finding not only employment, but employment that fits their talents and interests?

Similar to my advice to young people, I would urge job seekers to follow what interests them rather than a flashy salary. I have spoken to hundreds of exceptional finance professionals since I started Fintalent.io who are looking to pivot their careers towards projects that give them a greater sense of gratification and more control over their time. On a practical level, I think people should invest in building their professional online presence in the same way that many people build a social brand for themselves online. Build a personal website and cultivate your own brand and more opportunities will come your way.

The statistics of artificial intelligence and automation eliminating millions of jobs, appear frightening to some. For example, Walmart aims to eliminate cashiers altogether and Dominos is instituting pizza delivery via driverless vehicles. How should people plan their careers such that they can hedge their bets against being replaced by automation or robots?

The one thing that AI and automation cannot provide is human connection. Developing soft skills such as communication and teamwork will mean that you can readjust your career path and learn new skills in different working environments.

Technological advances and pandemic restrictions hastened the move to working from home. Do you see this trend continuing? Why or why not?

Working from home is a very viable option for the financial services industry, indeed Fintalent.io is a fully distributed company and our team works remotely throughout Europe and beyond. In addition, our freelance professionals on the Fintalent platform all work on projects fully remotely. The ability to hire distributed professionals for short term projects opens up a wealth of talent for companies. This is particularly true in the financial services industry where projects — for example in the M&A space — often require short bursts of dedicated work and having a permanent team on the books doesn’t make economic sense.

What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support the fundamental changes to work?

With the increase in those working from home and less footfall in city centers as a result, I think that governments will need to look closely at how they use traditional office space and space used by associated industries. There is a crisis of affordable housing in many developed countries, and younger people are being priced out of urban areas in particular, so if there is a long-term trend towards remote working the spaces in our city centers could be put to different uses.

What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employers to accept? What changes do you think will be the most difficult for employees to accept?

I think that traditional employers may begin to clash with the younger generation who expect different working practices and have different aspirations.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped highlight the inadequate social safety net that many workers at all pay levels have. Is this something that you think should be addressed? In your opinion how should this be addressed?

I can’t really comment on the specifics of the US’s social security system, as I am based in Europe, but I would hope that the global pandemic has forced governments to reassess their approach to where they direct their funding. Of course, many problems cannot be solved by throwing money at them, but I am in favor of very targeted funding to support ailing industries and their workforces.

Despite all that we have said earlier, what is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

I am a great believer in the power of humanity’s ingenuity. The past 18 months have shown how adaptable the global workforce has been throughout the pandemic. The biggest challenge in the next few decades will be how to combat the climate crisis whilst maintaining economic growth but I believe this will be achieved through innovations across all sorts of industries.

Historically, major disruptions to the status quo in employment, particularly disruptions that result in fewer jobs, are temporary with new jobs replacing the jobs lost. Unfortunately, there has often been a gap between job losses and the growth of new jobs. What do you think we can do to reduce the length of this gap?

In many countries, governments have stepped in and bankrolled major infrastructure projects (for example Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ to help America recover through the Great Depression). There is talk of a Biden ‘New Deal’ type project in the US, but I think if global governments are looking to fund a major new investment project then it has to look at innovative solutions to the ongoing climate crisis.

Okay, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Watch In the Future of Work?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Traditional wisdom regarding best working practices in Finance is being challenged. Historically, those in Finance have adopted a work-hard-play-hard culture in which long hours are something to boast about. Instead, people want to take back control of their careers and life. The fallout from the pandemic in the world of work has led to many in Finance questioning what they want from their career. Since we started Fintalent.io in Q4 of 2019, it has grown to have over 800 professionals working on the platform and clients based across Europe and the U.S. This is in no small part to the pandemic, which has accelerated remote-working trends and made it mainstream.
  2. Generational shift. Millennials, who are now coming into more high-level positions across Finance, think differently compared to older generations. 53% of workers aged 18–22 freelanced this year, compared with 29% of those aged 55+. In addition, younger people are no longer putting up with unacceptable working conditions in return for a hefty salary. In a bid to convince young bankers to stay, many US firms are now paying over $100K to Junior Bankers. Since the leaked Goldman Sachs complaints about “inhumane” and “abusive” work practices, many young people are seeking alternative careers.
  3. The whole world moving to remote work in the last 15 months will have a lasting impact on the future of work. Technological infrastructure has developed to a point where the vast majority of service jobs can be done remotely, as evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees have found that they can do the majority, if not all of, of their job roles from the comfort of their home without the need for a multi-hour commute every day. The pandemic has significantly fast-tracked the Finance sector’s approach to remote work and with many firms now beginning to mandate a return to the office for their workers, there’s been a dramatic increase in interest in the Fintalent.io platform from bankers who want to quit.
  4. M&A is a vertical that lends itself to project-based remote working. There are often ebbs and flows in the cycle of M&A transactions and it is sometimes not economical for a corporation to hire a team of M&A professionals on a full-time basis. Project-based M&A work is a more transparent and collaborative way of doing M&A business, particularly on the sell-side. At Fintalent, we have spoken to hundreds of exceptional finance professionals this year who are looking to pivot their careers towards projects that give them a greater sense of gratification and more control over their time.
  5. Increased use of non-traditional collaborative workspaces. Though shared workspaces have not always been a roaring success in recent years, a shift to increased levels of remote working will no doubt mean that traditional office spaces, with their high overhead costs for businesses, will be used less and less. However, I do not think that the need for physical office space will disappear entirely. Instead, companies may need workspaces for short-term projects or individuals may wish to work in environments more conducive to work if their home workspace is not conducive to productive work habits. For example, those with young children or those without a dedicated office area in their home.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how this quote has shaped your perspective?

‘audentis fortuna iuvat’ (Virgil’s Aeneid, 10.284) — traditionally rendered “Fortune favors the bold”. The sentiment was often quoted in various iterations by Ancient Roman authors. In this context, it is the Rutillian warrior Turnus exalting the gods during his fight with the Trojan (and founder of the Roman race) Aeneas. Though you won’t succeed at every venture you undertake (and in this instance, Turnus was beaten in combat by Aeneas — the sooner to be the founder of the Roman race) I have found that by taking chances and opportunities you will generally find more success than by ‘playing it safe’.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to have lunch with Jürgen Gröbler. A fellow countryman, Jürgen was the head coach of the British rowing team for nearly 40 years and one of, if not the most, successful coaches ever in rowing. As well as wanting to know what makes him tick and how he is able to get the most out of the athletes he trained, it would be interesting to hear him talk about stories from the Olympics from decades previous, which were sometimes surrounded by controversy. In addition, I think that rowing is a fantastic team sport, indeed at Fintalent, we sponsor a small college rowing team at the University of Oxford.

Our readers often like to follow our interview subjects’ careers. How can they further follow your work online?

Feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin, or via the Fintalent.io Linkedin page. If you are interested in our Fintalent.io platform and think you are an exceptional candidate, submit your CV to [email protected]

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.


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