Market Update – Australia

MARKET CONDITIONS IN AUSTRALIA ARE CHALLENGING

This is especially true for finance professionals. During and since the Global Financial Crisis many local accounting firms have downsized their operations. In addition, many locally based firms have begun to move to a shared services model. Consequently, finance functions are increasingly  being outsourced or relocated overseas. Ironically, this means that the need for finance professionals is actually growing in many of the markets from where ACCA Members are looking to emigrate!

For example, ACCA Malaysia reports that there is currently a need for ACCA qualified finance professionals in Kuala Lumpur. At the same time, here in Australia a number of ACCA Members who have migrated from Malaysia have struggled to find work locally.

Business confidence in Australia continues to be a cause for concern. While business confidence is just one driver leading to expected jobs growth and hiring activity in Australia’s professional employment market (according to findings in the 2014/15 Michael Page Australia Salary & Employment Forecast), the lack of confidence means that talent management will be an even greater priority for employers over the coming year.

The fact remains that employers are seeking the very best talent for the limited number of roles they have available.

THE EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

Based on responses from 2,200 surveyed employers, close to one-third expect to increase their teams’ headcounts in the teams over the next 12 months, with the majority (59%) hiring professionals at the mid-level. A healthy hiring market is expected to fuel jobseeker activity; just over a half of employers expect staff turnover to increase in the coming year, the two key reasons being to improve salary (26%) or to broaden experience and the opportunity to learn (25%).

There are several emerging drivers influencing the professional employment market over the coming year. Business confidence is rising and companies are shifting their focus to growth rather than cost control.  Meanwhile, the influx of Asian-owned organisations either buying Australian companies or financing new ventures in the domestic market is beginning to create hiring activity at the C-level.

As hiring activity improves, employers are looking closely at talent management. For the bulk of surveyed employers (41%) the most popular tool for attracting and retaining staff is a strong company culture, while 18% believe it is offering structured career progression. In terms of remuneration, 53% say they will offer salary increases to staff based on performance and 63% will include a bonus as part of the remuneration package. Other rewards offered to entice staff in the coming year include flexible working arrangements (78%) and a mobile phone (79%).

Growing demand for quality professionals is also being driven by increasing activity in public and private sector infrastructure, financial services, retail and property. This demand will be met by professionals who are eager to secure a new opportunity after the challenging employment market conditions experienced over the past few years.

Top Tip – You will find the employment market in Australia is currently very tight – with many finance professionals going for a limited number of jobs. You must ensure that your CV is up to date and relevant and that your interview skills are top notch. In a competitive field you need to differentiate yourself from the other applicants.