GRC pros are top of the pile for recruitment

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While the Australian financial services sector has suffered the biggest decline in job opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, it’s not all bad news.

In a bi-annual report by recruitment agency Robert Half, 401 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Finance Directors (FDs) and Chief Operations Officers (COOs) from across Australia were surveyed to determine their hiring plans for the second half of 2012, and GRC professionals can take heart from the results.

Results show that, while overall hiring within the financial services sector is expected to remain static – with a focus on staff retention – 35% of senior financial services leaders expect to add to their headcount in the second half of this year.

Specifically, the level of demand for staff in the risk and compliance fields are notable, with risk management being the third most popular area of expertise that the financial services sector is seeking. Twenty-five per cent of respondents claimed that risk managers were on their recruitment hit list.

Compliance (23%) came just one place below risk in the list of recruitment areas where financial services organisations expect to be most active in hiring. Internal audit took fifth place (14%).

Experienced compliance managers will also be interested to read that their skills appear to be rare as well as in demand. Compliance took fourth place in terms of the functional areas that are proving hardest to fill within the finance and accounting sectors, with 16% of respondents stating that jobs in this area were proving hard to fill. Audit took third place (19%).

In order to more effectively fill these employment areas, David Jones, managing director of Asia Pacific for Robert Half, says a more efficient recruitment process is beneficial.  

“We’re also learning that it’s taking longer in the marketplace to fill a job, and you do run the risk of losing a decent candidate through the process if that process is dragged out, meaning it’s really important that if you’re working with a third party or recruitment company that you see those candidates within close proximity of one another, so that you can evaluate them, give them feedback, and ascertain who’s going to be the most suitable candidate.”

General trends

Confidence in organisational prospects for growth comes into play, with 87% of senior financial services leaders remaining relatively optimistic and expressing at least some confidence in their company’s growth prospects in the next 12 months compared to last year.

However, it’s small to mid-sized organisations that are primarily fuelling the increasing headcount in the financial services sector. The report cited rising workloads (51%) and business growth (34%) as the top motives for increasing staffing levels.

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