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Good things come in more inventive packages

Australia’s fund managers are becoming increasingly innovative in how they hold onto staff.

That’s the key finding of a survey focused on the asset management sector, by Jon Michel Executive Search. According to Meredith Jordan, the consultant who conducted the survey, staff retention has risen to priority number one for most firms.

“It’s such an intensely competitive market at the moment that there are lots of different firms working on this. They’ve got internal projects and on-site recruitment teams, all dedicated to managing and retaining their staff,” Jordan says.

What are firms doing exactly? Share and options schemes are reportedly becoming more popular, while vesting times for stock are being reduced from three to four years to one to two years, making stock a more ‘tangible benefit’, says Jordan.

She says that firms which can’t offer stock are offering bigger cash bonuses, subject to their recipients reaching certain performance thresholds. There are also more sign-on bonuses, more guarantees, higher cash compensation, and a broader dispersal of bonus payments, to include more junior roles.

Companies are also being creative in bringing hires through their doors in the first place. Jordan says some are paying AU$10k to existing staff who refer friends. And there’s more emphasis on flexible work – one fund manager offered a potential employee Friday afternoons off to encourage him to join.

Chandler Macleod senior consultant Jane Griffiths confirms the trend. She says options that vest over a three-year date following the start of employment are on the up, and more and more employees are able to work from home: “It’s a great market for candidates – there really is a range of options available.”

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