Finance professionals set for optimistic recruitment market in 2017

Robert Half forecasts the trends that will dominate the finance sector in 2017. Read more here.

2016 saw a steady employment market for finance professionals across Australia, with buoyant trends along the East Coast and with business expansion and new projects being the primary drivers of demand in Sydney and Melbourne. 

Specialised recruitment company Robert Half forecasts the trends that will dominate the finance sector in 2017 and reflects on how finance professionals need to adapt to meet evolving expectations and increase their market value. 

1. Demand for IT skills

The market for finance professionals in 2017 will become more particular as candidates who have specialised skillsets, well-developed IT skills and superior business acumen will find themselves ahead of the competition when applying for jobs. 

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Looking forward, the increasing influence of financial digitisation and workplace automation will be one of the key factors shaping the financial landscape in 2017 and driving demand for finance professionals with well-developed IT skills. Jobseekers will need to upgrade their IT skills to keep in-line with growing industry demand.” 

“Companies who are implementing these new trends will need to amend their recruitment strategy and update the required skillsets when targeting finance specialists. Professionals who have specialised experience in a niche sector will be highly sought after in 2017 and will have a competitive edge when negotiating their salary after accepting an offer.”

2. Diverse skillsets will lead to higher remuneration 

In a competitive job market, finance professionals who have a diverse skillsets and who can add substantial value to a company will be able to command a higher salary. 

“Finance professionals aspiring to a higher salary in 2017 will need to not only possess sufficient finance skills and qualifications, but also encompass IT skills in to their CV, such as IT auditing, system infiltration projects and project planning of data migration. In Australia, particularly in NSW, these candidates are in short supply and will have the leverage to negotiate a generous package,” David Jones said. 

“Finance professionals will be expected to manage higher workloads, whilst delivering results in a more efficient manner. Pay rises will be awarded to those who can better manage an increased workload whilst still delivering high results for their company and to those who involve themselves more in the company projects, and who actively try to make improvements where necessary.” 

“In order to attract and retain top financial specialists, some companies will be adjusting their salary packages to ensure their offers match or exceed the averages in their location and industry.”

3. Technology will shape the future skillset of finance professionals
The finance function within Australian businesses is set to undergo a significant transformation as technological advancements will continue to change the way companies conduct their business.

“Process automation, digitisation and Big Data will have a substantial impact on the finance function in 2017 and in the years ahead. This in turn puts pressure on the finance function, as finance professionals need to add versatility to their skillsets. Those who are quickest to adapt to the demands of their future role will only accelerate their career and salary levels,” David Jones said.

“As companies continue to evolve with the growing influence of new technology, finance professionals will be expected to exhibit a more tech-based skillset in the future, particularly within the business analysis and commercial areas. Candidates with capabilities in IT and Business Intelligence tools will be in high demand, particularly within the SME sector.”

“The ability to adapt quickly and upskill with technology will be critical for all finance professionals – especially in platforms that will enable their company to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency. Professionals with cloud-based ERP system experience will be highly sought-after by companies seeking to implement financial digitisation.”

4. No flow-on effect of global events
Financial markets may face a level of uncertainty in 2017 after unanticipated global events – a trend that can potentially impact finance professionals. 

David Jones said: “Currently, there is a bit of uncertainty within the finance employment market due to unexpected global events, however there is no indication that there will be a negative flow-on effect in Australia, as the demand for both temporary and permanent financial opportunities remains steady and is expected to remain steady in 2017. We don’t expect significant flow-on effects from economic uncertainty in Australia for at least six to 12 months." 

“During this uncertainty, organisations will find themselves in an ever increasing competitive environment as businesses increase spending and contend for global market share amid consumer unease. The demand shift in the employment market will be for finance professionals who can quickly adapt to changing economic conditions and add substantial value to their business.” 

“Companies can maintain confidence by encouraging their different business departments to work closer together in order to synergise their performance and maintain employee engagement. Finance teams will need to cohesively work with other teams across the organisation to manage process improvement, cost efficiencies and drive performance,” David Jones concluded. 

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