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Is a British invasion solving the Aussie skill shortage?

Supply of British candidates and demand for their skills seem to be coming together at just the right time.

During Q1 2010, the number of financial services roles filled by British workers increased by four percentage points compared with the same period in 2008, according to research by headhunters Jon Michel Executive Search and Kinsey Allen International.

And the recruiters expect this rise to continue. In 2008, the financial services sector in New South Wales and Victoria employed approximately 46,500 British professionals (19 per cent of the total). This is likely to increase to 69,250 by the end of this year, reflecting the growth of the industry as a whole, as well as an improved supply of UK candidates.

But why are more Brits heading Down Under? The report says it’s primarily because there are comparatively more career opportunities in Sydney and Melbourne than in Western European financial centres. The strong overall performance of the Australian economy during the financial crisis is another key factor.

Other recruiters have noticed that more Brits are coming onto the employment market. “It’s due to a combination of the increase in number and variety of opportunities in the Australian market, as well as Sydney now being a more established international financial services hub,” says Louise Langridge, joint managing director, Morgan McKinley Sydney.

But what type of jobs are being filled by Brits? These functions top the list: risk and compliance; accounting and finance; project and strategy; and investment banking and capital markets.

“Accounting and product control are two functions where there is currently significant demand in Sydney for professionals from the UK. This is not only due to the shortage of local talent, but also some institutions are actively seeking those with larger-market experience gained in the UK,” adds Langridge.

The sheer size of their operations in Australia means that most British candidates are employed by one of the Big Four banks.

“However, there has also been recent demand from international investment banks, fund managers and insurance companies. As the jobs market has picked up, the pool of available Australian candidates has been slower to follow, leading to a candidate-short market and more opportunities for UK professionals,” says Langridge.

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Comments (23)

  1. “the pool of available Australian candidates has been slower to follow, leading to a candidate-short market”. This is a fallacy. There are plenty of suitably qualified Australian candidates unable to find work. The poms are stealing jos that would otherwise go to Australian workers.

  2. Demand seems to be for relevant experience – I think this article is suggesting that in some domestic and international financial institutions in Australia, experience from larger, more established financial centres is attractive to hiring managers. Given the financial crisis, it’s no surprise that there may be more competition for jobs as employers look to hire the best talent which may mean looking for overseas candidates.

    Equally, there are many opportunities for Australians to work in the UK in this sector, but this shouldn’t be viewed as Australians stealing British jobs. Financial Services is a global jobs market and professionals will always move from one financial centre to another to develop their careers.

  3. They are all coming to claim Living Away from Home Allowance…LAFHA….why has ruddie not put a stop to this….

  4. Wow what a strange bunch of comments about the Poms stealing Aussie finance jobs.
    Australians have always been welcomed in the London financial services circles and done very well out of it. Poms are being hired by Australian managers who reckon the pommy candidates have appropriate experience for the jobs which are vacant. Recruiting in finance is often a bit of a beauty parade and many jobs go unfilled for long periods of time if there is no candidate with appropriate experience. If there were appropriately skilled Aussies they would be employed before the Poms, its a lot more straight forward to employ a local person. If there is a real problem amongst all of this, it is essentially the fact that banks are generally unwilling to invest in people who have a reasonable skill overlap and provide some degree of training to make them up to to 100%, this state of mind tends to happen when staff are all working hard anyway and have no time for training because most teams are on the lean side and have people doing unpaid overtime due to insufficient staffing levels. Thats because Banks want to keep the wages bill down and maximize profits for shareholders. Greed Greed Greed Greed.

    Something is very rotten Reply
  5. Why do they come to Australia when we are still trying to find jobs? Why don’t they stay in Europe and be happy in their own country?

  6. I am looking for a job as a plastic surgeon?
    Can eFinancial help?

  7. Sorry!

    Delete that?

    I meant rocket scientist ….

  8. Nope …

    Lion Tamer!

    (I have an electrically lighten hat that I bought at Harrods for the role.)

  9. Read some of these comments and you’ll see why Australia is often referred to as parochial and backwards.

  10. Those Brits who come here and steal jobs from Australians are not good at all. If they were good enough, they would have been working in England rather than coming such a long way to Australia. Maybe they are convicts and running away from the law!!

  11. Dear Ben – London is full of Australians and the unemployment rate in Britain is much worse than here. Why do you Australians have such a big chip on your shoulders about Brits living here and ‘stealing’ your jobs? How can they ‘steal’ a job – are Australian employers just letting them or are they hiring the people with the best experience?

  12. The anti-Brit view being aired here is less about Poms and more about the small-mindedness of an Australian few.

    BritTakeYourJob Reply
  13. The reason that Aussies go so well in London is thaqt they have a good reputation for hard work. Good luck to the employers picking up British nationals. From my experience, all they’re going to end up with is work dodgers who think they swing a big line because they got carried along in the UK by a market from which any fool could have made money.

  14. A previous poster makes a good comment about many companies not willing to provide training for candidates with a reasonable skill overlap..

  15. Dear X, The Brits have created a leading, if not the leading financial centre in London, something Sydney or Melbourne could only dream about. According to your logic any Australians or any other nationality who have acquired experience in London have just been carried along by an easy market and I don’t think that’s a fair account at all. If it’s that easy to make money there, why didn’t you participate too, then you might not be so bitter. May be you weren’t brave enough to leave your Mummy behind!

    Tell him he’s dreaming Reply
  16. To all those idiots saying that companies would hire Australians were it not for Poms coming over, the fact is they wouldn’t and can’t. Basically there is a massive skill shortage here that can’t be filled by untalented and unskilled locals – he best Australians are over in the UK anyway – this is just a trade of skills. Get over it.

    BillySwollocks Reply
  17. I am really disappointed to read so many negative opinions, I believed Melburnians prided themselves on their cosmoplitan approach, without the influx of skilled migrants do you really believe Australia could have riden the GFC as well as it has? Isolationist practices and thinking jeopardises global growth – get real we are now a world economy unless you want to go the route of the Greeks encourage diversity, learn from it and move on!

  18. The problem has alot to do with recruitment agencies.

    Alot of the recruiters are from the UK themselves and are here only for a few years to have fun. It is in their best interest to supply UK candidates to banks in Australia simply as a relationship building exercise. In a few years they will all go back home and continue their chummy relationship while locals are left with gaps in their CV’s.

    There are complaints in the finanance industry (and probably others) regarding this practice but who can you complain to ?

  19. True about recruitment companies. There is the automatic assumption that UK candidates are better simply because they have worked …..in the UK !

    Ive applied for roles which I was certainly qualified to fill and didn’t even get a call, only to discover that the (Brit) recruitment agent sent a fellow Brit who not only did not have a suitable visa but was ultimately sponsored by the bank !

    It stinks and there needs to be an appropriate assessment on these sponsorships while suitably qualified and experiecned locals remain unemployed.

  20. Jesus, I hope that all of those out there making snide comments about jobs being stolen, are not looking after my money. What a backward bunch of misnomers you all are. Wake up banking and financial services is global. If there were no positions available the “POMS” wouldnt be able to fill them. with the dollar running at 60c coming to the lucky country wont be an easy ride financially. So get with the program and lighten up. Otherwise you will quite rightly carry the crown of world class whingers to your graves. Or is this come about cause you lost the 20 20 the other night!!

  21. Poor old parochial Ozzies coming out of the woodwork. Global, mobile workforces are a fact of life dudes.

  22. 2008 – GBP / AUD 2.70
    2010 – GBP/AUD 1.50

    what more do you need to know ?

  23. You’ve hit the ball out the park! Incrdieble!

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