The huge skills shortage in banking

Banks and financial institutions are struggling to fill jobs in one part of the market that has been impacted by increasing regulation and emerging geopolitical risks.

Areas that are currently experiencing greater levels of demand include compliance, financial crime, regulatory projects, technology risk and enterprise-wide risk, according to global recruitment firm Randstad. 

“With more regulation focused on financial services and newer risks such as global hacking trends around the world, managing risk has been a growing area for businesses in financial services including the banks,” Randstad team leader, banking and finance Andrew Woutersz said. 

“We are seeing a huge demand from all major banks and mid-sized bank, particularly covering conduct risks.”

With the move to open-data and the continued trend to digitize banking, the sector is seeking to boost its governance standards in technology. 

Demand for offshore skills

According to Woutersz, transformation projects and technology risk continues to expand in areas including data protection and privacy with the continuing need to improve systems and controls to mitigate risks.

“Broadly speaking, we are beginning to see a huge skill shortage in this particular area.” 

Financial crime and anti-money laundering is another area, he expects to see grown particularly as global regulators are increasing their surveillance on money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption. 

“With only a small pool of specialists within this space, a more aggressive stance from AUSTRAC this year, could create demand for overseas candidates.”

Ranstad has been working with its clients to fill vacancies that have now been open for over three months. Interestingly, the Melbourne market job market is more buoyant than Sydney. In 2016, Randstad saw a large increase in demand in the Melbourne market, with 25 per cent of all its placements made in that city – in 2015 it was just 12 per cent. 

Woutersz expects job growth to continue in that market this year with particularly demand for enterprise risk, technology and project risk and compliance. 

North of $100,000

Salaries have increased to reflect the heightened demand in risks and compliance jobs, however, the results are not consistent across all levels as highlighted in the table below. 

Salaries in the $100,000 to $150,000 category have steadily increased from 2014 while salaries above $150,000 have had a slight decline. 

“It is evident that we have experienced a steep decline in the hiring of roles with base salaries below $100,000. Overall, we expect base salaries in the risk and compliance area to remain solid this year."

The demand for such roles has also spread to other sectors including superannuation and wealth management. 

With ASIC’s focus on the conduct of financial planning in the banks’ wealth management arms, will mean strong demand for risk and compliance professionals to work on remediation projects albeit on a contract basis.  

Industry superannuation funds have also continued to expand their risk and compliance staff - however salaries in this sector have been lower. 

As highlighted earlier, the skills shortage will mean that banks and financial institutions will have to look for overseas candidates. 

However, Woutersz said that the government’s move to ban 457 visas has created doubt in the market. 

“The decision has created uncertainty for both employers and potential overseas candidates particularly in areas like technology and digital risks which tends to attract the expertise of employees in overseas markets.” 

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