The Market Has Cooled, So Why is it Still Hard to Find the Right Financial Services Talent?

by | 12 Dec 2022

Home » News » The Market Has Cooled, So Why is it Still Hard to Find the Right Financial Services Talent?

The financial services industry was already facing a skills shortage prior to Covid-19. Yet now, a staggering 75% of C-Suite Executives in the accounting and financial services sector are concerned about the scarcity of skills within the industry, tightening the market unlike ever before.

With so many accountancy and finance employers struggling to find suitable applicants, it begs the question, what has happened to our skilled financial services workforce? And how can we hope to recover as an industry from these talent shortages? Read on to find out.

Skilled Migrants
“Tough economic times mean that financial services are in huge demand, but the homegrown supply of accounting and finance professionals falls far short of meeting this demand”, notes CPA Australia Chief Executive Andrew Hunter.

This is where skilled migrants have previously filled the gap, but the pandemic put an abrupt stop to skilled migration, and the industry is still feeling the sting. However, during the September Jobs and Skills Summit, the government announced skilled visas would rise from 109,900 to 142,400, an increase of almost 30 per cent, hoping this may ease pressure on businesses desperately seeking staff.

Subsequently, we hope to see skilled migrants able to fill more of these high-demand roles in the coming year to alleviate some of the skills shortages experienced within the financial services sector.

Another key factor in the tight financial services talent market is training, more specifically, the lack of it. As Australia experiences skills shortages, we encourage employers to be more responsive to less-experienced candidates and consider applicants from a wide range of backgrounds.

Upskilling current employees and providing on-the-job training for candidates with strong potential for a role is a crucial strategy for improving the existing skills shortages and tapping into talent that may otherwise be dismissed.

As training opportunities are limited and skilled migration has been reduced, there is a third spanner in the works contributing to the shortage of skilled financial services professionals; qualifications. The industry has tightened its stance on qualifications, particularly in the financial advisory field, where a new advisor exam has been mandated.

Since the introduction of the exam, there has been a triple-digit loss of advisers, many of whom failed to pass the new compulsory adviser exam by the 30 September deadline and subsequently were removed from the Financial Advisers Register.

As such, businesses need to support their staff and encourage employees to upskill and ascertain their necessary qualifications to remain abreast of the industry and licensed to work to improve retention rates, not just in their business, but across the industry.

It’s worth noting that many areas of the financial services sector are male-dominated. The 2022 FSC Diversity Survey found that women make up only 27% of investment teams within Australia. This disproportionate gender is not just affecting asset and funds management; it’s also a poignant issue plaguing businesses across superannuation, fintech, risk management, accounting and financial advisory fields, to name a few.

So how can you find and retain staff in such a tight market? Implementing effective DEI policies can attract a wider breadth of talent, improve employee satisfaction and encourage a positive workplace culture and inclusive environment.

There is no singular culprit for the tight financial services market we are continuing to experience. However, businesses can combat skills shortages by improving retention rates and attracting talent through skilled migration, on-the-job training, supporting staff in obtaining their qualifications and implementing strong DEI policies.

At the Godfrey Group, we have a talent pool of quality candidates of all levels with varying experience. If you’re looking to fill vacancies or grow your team, speak to our financial services recruitment experts today on 02 8004 9350.

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