Updated: June 1, 2023 - 7 min read
There are opportunities to get your first job in Product Management if you know where to look. Even as Big Tech faces challenges, the field of Product Management continues to grow. In a few industries, demand for Product Managers is increasing. The profile for these industries is either 1) They’re tech-native (i.e. the entire industry is only possible because of technology) or 2) They’re traditional industries embracing the possibilities of emerging technologies for their field.
Here’s the short list of industries hiring Product Managers:
Honorable mention: AI
Product Managers are well-suited to tackle problem-solving in these industries because they foster alignment, collaboration, and customer-centricity—qualities sorely needed in these high-stakes environments. And the good news is that you don’t need to have a technical background to break into these sectors. Product Management training can help you brush up on business and tech concepts, but there’s no need for you to dive deep into technical skills like engineering. It’s more important to focus on fostering great communication skills and industry knowledge!
FinTech is where we’ve seen one of the biggest boosts in hiring for Product Managers. FinTech, or Financial Technology, is the application of technology and innovation to improve and automate various aspects of financial services such as banking, payments, lending, investments, and insurance. A few well-known FinTech companies include banking apps like N26 and Revolut, payment apps like Stripe, transfer services like Wise, and investment apps like Robinhood.
It’s essential to get FinTech products right—they deal with people’s money, after all. A FinTech company’s top priority is to always maintain users’ trust. Once trust is damaged, the entire company and even the industry is damaged. Just think about the FTX scandal. When FTX came tumbling down, its fall didn’t just upturn the lives of its users—it cast doubt on the entire cryptocurrency market. Why? The cryptocurrency industry (a subset of the FinTech industry) is essentially built on trust and belief. Indeed, so is FinTech in general, as well as traditional banking. The difference between successful financial initiatives and unsuccessful ones is trust. Will users trust you with their money?
While there are many factors that go into making a trustworthy product, good Product Management is right at the top of the list. FinTechs need Product Managers there to make sure nothing essential falls through the cracks. The capacity of a Product Manager to communicate and align various teams acts as a sort of risk management in this context. Stakeholder management is extra important for FinTech PMs, who have to answer to more stakeholders with more urgency. Aside from the usual suspects like designers, engineers, and marketers, they interact with regulations and legal teams to make sure everything is airtight.
Further, because FinTech is a sector that’s digitally native, it has an intrinsic understanding of the importance of user experience and digital design. The internal and external user experience of FinTech products tends to be cohesive, clean, and efficient. In addition to being trustworthy and competent, FinTechs want to come off as hip and innovative. FinTechs need Product Managers, in collaboration with designers and Product Marketing, to pull this off. And because FinTech companies tend to be international, Product Managers are also called in to help personalize the product based on regional needs and preferences.
The job security of the FinTech PM comes from this need to stay relevant both in terms of brand and technology. With the rapid growth and evolution of this sector, FinTech products aren’t just a one-and-done—redirection and new strategies are always needed! It’s the job of FinTechs PMs to have a finger on the pulse of the industry and make quick pivots with their products when needed.
FinTech PMs are also needed in traditional banks. Most of the important financial banking institutions are branching into online and app-based banking in order to compete with purely FinTech banks. By introducing trustworthy digital banking, FinTech fundamentally shifted the market, forcing traditional brick and mortar banks to reimagine their offerings. And Product Managers get to be at the forefront of that reimagination and implementation!
If Product Management is all about collaborating to build products that solve user problems, health issues are some of the most urgent user problems out there. We’re incentivized as a society, as a community, and as individuals to solve these problems. That’s why although medicine is one of the world’s oldest industries, it’s also one of the most promising areas for tech applications today. There is lots of research and development happening in this area, with many sources of funding and support.
Just to name a few, here are some of the technological advancements applied in medicine:
Analysis and data software
Increased computing power
Logistics is another industry that’s as old as trade itself. It’s more traditional than medicine because it hasn’t been subject to as much of a laser-focus on development of new technologies, but the new technologies have been coming anyway.
Amazon in particular is the shining star of developments in logistics, but every industry and every company that works with physical products is connected with logistics in some way and can benefit from developments in logistics technology.
With millions of consumers, global trade, and more and more complex operations, logistic companies are smart to take advantage of technological advances. There are more delivery and transportation options available every day, not to mention the possibilities of automation. Further, with eCommerce becoming one of the dominant ways that consumers shop, the integration of logistics with the internet has become even more solidified.
As with FinTech, one of the great advantages Product Management can give logistics software is localization and personalization. Logistics needs vary a lot based on geographic area and restrictions, as well as with what types of physical products are being transported.
Although these products are not as shiny as consumer-facing products, there are tons of B2B SaaS companies that are in need. There are more established companies, but also plenty of startups. If you’re breaking into Product Management, startups are a great place to get your foot in the door. They value talent and hunger over industry experience.
According to PeerSignal, a platform that tracks SaaS market data, these are the top 5 SaaS categories currently raising & hiring:
Security & Compliance
Honorable Mention: AI
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention AI here. Indeed, AI is part of the technological advancements happening that makes the growth in the aforementioned industries possible. AI is eating the world, and soon enough every company will be an AI company.
There will need to be Product Managers specialized in AI. So why only an honorable mention? Given that this is a piece on breaking into Product Management, AI might not be the best place to start. AI Product Managers will most likely have to be more technical, so this isn’t the ideal way for someone without a technical background to break into Product Management.
That said, every Product Manager moving forward, technical or not, will have to stay informed about AI. Even if it’s not the primary focus of your role, stay curious about AI and understand how and where you can apply it in tech solutions.
Updated: June 1, 2023