Magazine article Journal of Banking and Financial Services

It's All in the Skills: While Employment in Australia's Financial Services Has Not Kept Pace with the Tremendous Expansion in the Market, Our Rich Pool of Talent Remains a Drawcard for International Financial Institutions. Opportunities Abound for Those Who Keep Updating Their Skills to Take Advantage of the Rapid Growth in Key Market Segments. (from the Chief Executive)

Magazine article Journal of Banking and Financial Services

It's All in the Skills: While Employment in Australia's Financial Services Has Not Kept Pace with the Tremendous Expansion in the Market, Our Rich Pool of Talent Remains a Drawcard for International Financial Institutions. Opportunities Abound for Those Who Keep Updating Their Skills to Take Advantage of the Rapid Growth in Key Market Segments. (from the Chief Executive)

Article excerpt

Australia's significant resources in terms of financial market skills and expertise have been critical to the development and increasing sophistication of our financial markets.

The finance and insurance sector ("the finance sector") is now the third largest in Australia's economy, with growth in market capitalisation producing a doubling in the sector's contribution to the economy over the past ten years.

However, factors such as strong competition and the rapid uptake of technology have prevented employment opportunities within the industry from growing in line with market expansion.

Indeed, employment in financial services has fallen relative to total employment since the late 1980s. Yet, structural changes within the industry are creating new employment opportunities for those with the skills required in certain high-growth segments of the market.

Interestingly, the finance sector has one of the highest levels of intra-industry mobility, with up to three-quarters of those who change jobs in any year finding employment elsewhere within the sector.

The three main segments of the finance sector, as identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are:

* Finance (including banks, building societies, credit unions and money market corporations);

* Insurance (including life insurance and superannuation funds providing retirement benefits, health insurance and/or general insurance); and

* Services to finance and insurance (including credit card services, stockbroking, mortgage services, insurance broking, futures, asset investment management or advisory services and superannuation funds management).

The slowest area of employment growth in the industry over the period from August 1996 to August 2001 was in the finance category (see ABS, Labour Force Survey). This partly reflects reduced institutional requirements for administrative staff due to the rapid growth in electronic, telephone and internet banking. However, increased customer takeup of the relatively new online retail banking facilities over the next few years is likely to generate significant employment growth, both in call centres and for IT professionals.

Strong demand is expected not only for software engineering specialists, but also for those with IT-related skills in financial advisory services, asset and liability management and in research analyst positions.

According to recent Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu report titled Future Demand for IT&T Skills in Australia, 1999-2004, the Australian IT workforce will need to increase by 50 per cent over the next four years. In 1996, the finance sector as a whole, employed more than 9400 computing professionals and 10,000 financial advisers (expected to grow to 40,000 by 2005).

The growing financial literacy of the population and the accumulation of financial wealth, particularly as the baby boomer generation nears retirement, is producing sharp increases in demand for financial asset investment management and retirement planning advice. …

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