All quiet on the western job hunt

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Financial job opportunities in Western Australia have been hit hard by the global recession, with back-office roles suffering the most.

The latest Olivier Job Index states that online advertisements for financial services positions in Perth have slumped by 47.83% over the last 12 months.

However, there are now at least some signs of stability. Index author Bob Olivier says banking and finance recruitment was flat in April. "Well to be precise, down .06%, seasonally adjusted against state figure of -12.33% for all online job ads in Perth," he adds.

Jane McNeill, senior regional director at Hays in Perth, reckons front-office recruitment is steady and banks are still filling critical client-facing positions. "However some support roles have been cut," she says.

In a classic case of size mattering, McNeil says Perth's comparatively small banking sector has helped it avoid widespread redundancies. "Perth also tends to focus far more on domestic and commercial banking and doesn't have big investment banking back offices like Sydney."

The most buoyant sectors in WA continue to be financial planning, wealth management, commercial banking and insurance.

Clearly the joker in the Perth pack is Bankwest. The firm announced in late March that it is cutting about 250 back-office support roles on the west coast, alongside 150 others in the east.

These layoffs are still casting a shadow over the employment market, according to Ryan Hathrill, director of Robert Walters, Perth.

"We have Bankwest employees walking into our office looking for work. We have come across candidates from finance, technology, audit and compliance. It will be hard for another bank in Perth, with the right volume of finance roles that they had at Bankwest, to fill the gap," adds Hathrill.

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