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Australia’s financial services job opportunities plummeted by over a third (-34%) in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. This was the largest decline experienced across the leading global financial centres, according to latest jobs barometer from professional career site eFinancialCareers.
But Australia was not alone with significant declines in finance opportunities seen across the Asia Pacific region. Singapore and Hong Kong registered declines of -13% and -24% respectively.
eFinancialCareers managing director of Asia-Pacific, George McFerran, said: “The decline of job opportunities in Australian financial services is reflective of a shift in organisation priorities, there is currently a definite focus on retrenchment. We are also perhaps starting to see the results of the offshoring programmes that many banks have been utilising.”
“However, despite the overall decline the new environment of regulation and capital adequacy requirements are driving strong growth in the areas of compliance and legal, risk management and retail banking.”
But there have been top performers in the Asia Pacific region with banks steadily hiring in the compliance/legal departments where vacancies rose by a sharp +54%. “It is anticipated this will remain a solid employment area as it is an essential function, with a need to replace departing staff,” said Mr McFerran.
Risk management also posted growth in job opportunities at +29%. As banks continue to expand their Asian presence managing operational, credit and market risk will remain a crucial process, the survey found.
But at the bottom of the list are derivatives (-58%), trading (-53%) and equities (-43%), which all noted strong declines. This is due to market volatility and budgetary pressures imposed by investment banks. Positions in these fields are typically well paid and firms prefer to make do with current resources.
Looking ahead, job prospects in the financial services sector are unlikely to be bright. But Mr McFerran said that “a gentle and sustainable recovery in job opportunities compared with last year is expected.
“We anticipate the job market will be more buoyant in insurance, and retail, corporate and transaction banking, where revenue will be more stable and banks will continue to expand to meet client needs. In investment banks deal flows in M&A and capital markets will need to consistently improve to justify more hiring in the second half of this year.”