Guest comment: Are you really worth that much?

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It may well be a hot market as Australian banks compete for staff, but that's no excuse for getting ahead of yourself, says Nick Deligiannis, senior regional director of Hays Banking.

The Australian banking employment market remains very tight and specialist skills are in great demand, creating numerous hotspots across the industry.

These hotspots are being found in investment and business banking, home lending and financial planning. But despite the huge demand for staff, candidates should be careful not to shoot too high.

While there may never have been a better time to advance your career, candidates are warned not to let the skills shortage blur their view of their own market worth.

The majority of candidates maintain realistic expectations when searching for their next role, but there is a small percentage who misinterpret the skills shortage as an opportunity to pursue inflated salaries.

Whilst many employers may be in urgent need of staff, few are enthusiastic about inflating market salaries or paying large percentage salary increases to candidates for a role identical to their previous position.

Also, employers must consider existing staff, who may already have proven their worth; it's difficult for them to justify increasing salary levels to accommodate new employees.

As for the major hotspots of demand in the banking market, the biggest is in investment banking, where there is still a huge shortage of available talent, especially at the operational level.

Business banking remains a highly competitive market with all banks competing for market share. Top performing relationship managers are in particular demand.

In residential lending, the recent increases in interest rates do not appear to have impaired recruitment levels and demand is high for credit lending officers and mortgage support staff.

In wealth management, the financial planning industry is experiencing a major talent shortage and planners and paraplanners are in extreme demand.

We have also witnessed increased demand for temporary staff across customer service and back-office processing, with travellers emerging as highly regarded candidates for these roles.

We expect vacancy activity to continue at current levels for the remainder of the year with investment banking and financial planning in particular facing staffing challenges.

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