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July – September 2016


Australia’s banking and financial services industry is seeing increased demand across the entire wealth market. All businesses involved in wealth management, from SME financial planning firms to the Big 4 banks, want to grow their market share in this profitable area.

Qualified and experienced Financial Planners are therefore in great demand. Candidates with tertiary qualifications are preferred however there is a shortage of such candidates. To counteract this employers are promoting degree qualified employees, from Paraplanners or Client Services Officers through to Financial Planners, under fast track training plans.

This in turn is depleting the number of experienced Paraplanning and Client Services candidates.

Employers are adapting to the skill shortage by engaging candidates in a temporary role when they are between permanent roles.

In other trends, AML/CTF (Anti Money Laundering) continues to be a large focus for financial services companies given that legislative reform is continually being looked at. Improved reporting practices from the industry means that AUSTRAC will produce even better intelligence, which then helps law enforcement agencies and the Government to investigate further. Compliance roles as well as KYC and enhanced due diligence are therefore a focus for employers.

With a lot of large investors looking to further diversify their investment strategy, analytics and performance management is a focus across all investment services. Niche skill sets and experience are in greater demand with strategists looking to emerging markets for the best returns, and investment portfolios being stretched to encompass a wider range of asset classes.

Within the lending operations area there is a lot of temporary movement, especially in smaller companies that want to utilise particular skills quickly and for a short period of time.

In addition, an increase in home loans through the broker channel is creating more jobs in the processing and settlement areas.

In the banking operations area more employers are using assessment centres in their recruitment process. There is also a shift towards hiring people in operations roles who lack prior operations experience but have the necessary attitude and aptitude. Employers believe you can train a candidate in the necessary skills but you cannot train attitude or team fit.

Strong written and verbal communication skills are also becoming more important as employers combine administration and customer-facing roles.

Another trend is the ever increasing focus on gender diversity across business, commercial and corporate banking. Along with talented local female candidates, employers are also considering high-performing women from oversees.

In a local trend, the Northern Territory’s banking sector is slower than it was. There is a shortage of candidates for higher level senior vacancies in the local market and thus suitable professionals need to be sourced from interstate. Interestingly roles that were previously based in other states and required regular visits to the Northern Territory, such as financial planning, are now being created locally.

Hotspots of demand

Financial Planners with a degree and ADFP, and preferably CFP, are in high demand for both Financial Planner roles and remediation projects. Given the increasing focus from SME financial planning firms through to the Big 4 banks on growing their wealth market share, demand will remain high.

Paraplanners and Client Services Officers are in high demand too. As noted above, to counteract the shortage of qualified and experienced Financial Planners with tertiary qualifications, employers are promoting degree qualified Paraplanners and Client Services Officers. This is adding to the shortage of suitable candidates for Paraplanning and Client Services roles.

Mortgage Lenders and Mobile Lenders are sought in both the broking and banking environments. These employers are constantly looking for high performing lenders with proven lending experience.

With mortgage volumes increasing in response to competitive marketing campaigns there is growing demand for experienced Mortgage Processors to provide temporary support to handle the increased work volume.

Settlement Officers with previous experience in a Big 4 bank are in high demand too. Employers look for candidates who do not want to return to a big bank.

Asset and equipment finance is increasing in the home lending sector. With asset and equipment finance rates at a constant low, processing departments are rapidly increasing to maintain output. Therefore experienced Asset Finance Credit Analysts (as well as Settlement Officers) are in high demand, especially in NSW.

Temporary lending operations candidates are also required in response to a number of banks running big campaigns.

Relationship Managers in business banking are in high demand. The major banks have all pledged to increase lending to SME and commercial clients, and therefore candidates with existing networks or referral partners are sought.

Chinese and Japanese speaking corporate banking professionals are needed too. There has been an increase in lending from Asian banks whereas domestic banks are tightening their risk appetite. As a result Chinese and Japanese speaking candidates are sought in the corporate space.

AML/CTF Compliance Advisory professionals are needed since this is a huge area of focus for financial services companies. Regulatory Compliance and Wealth Compliance candidates are also in high demand.

Performance Attribution Analysts/Officers are in demand. Further diversification of funds and investment strategies have led to increased demand in analytics teams. Many are now looking to strengthen their service offerings across a broader range of asset classes and so require candidates with specialist experience in performance attribution for both fixed income and equities. For these same reasons, Investment Analysts/Performance Analysts are also sought.

Product Specialists are needed across most large multinational investment firms in response to an increase in demand for product development.

Investment Strategists are in demand too. With major international events drastically impacting local markets, investors are increasingly looking to inernational and emerging markets to hit growth margins and mitigate risk.

Portfolio Managers are also sought. With large investment houses increasing their range of investment options, the number of portfolios being constructed and managed has grown. Therefore Portfolio Managers with international market experience are needed.

We are also seeing high demand for entry-level finance Graduates without experience. Employers look for driven candidates who they can train.

Candidate trends

Financial planning candidates are aware of the skill shortage and are very particular in the roles they will consider. They often view banks as less attractive than SMEs that can offer a more competitive salary and more flexible employment options. Candidates are looking for competitive offers and businesses that are willing to offer a package tailored to their requirements.

Candidates without the necessary educational standards are actively pursuing further education.

Meanwhile support staff within financial planning are motivated by further development and training plans as opposed to salary. Senior staff in particular want to know how they can progress within an organisation.

In other trends, international candidates from the US and Europe now find that their experience holds much more weight in the Sydney market. Employers now see greater value in candidates with experience across these markets.

Finally, entry-level candidates seek any role within a Big 4 bank. They want to start their career with a Big 4 where they can progress long-term.

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