Moving to Australia? Recruiters' tips to tackling the market

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A dearth of mid-level professionals amid a general candidate crunch has made Australia even more attractive for northern hemisphere finance professionals seeking more sun, surf and sports. But recruiters say there are some critical factors to consider before you move Down Under.

A global candidate shortage has driven the growth of cross-border traffic, with Australia's talent pool being drained by opportunities offshore in Asia, London and New York.

This, combined with the scaling down of graduate programs over the past four years, has led to acute demand in the local market for mid-level professionals with three to five years experience, says Jon Michel, principle of Jon Michel Executive Search in Sydney.

"Across the whole platform - front, middle and back office - anything at the senior analyst and associate level in any discipline is very tight - they're the most useful and the toughest to recruit," he says.

So recruiters are doing more headhunting and networking at the mid-market level than ever before, as well as considering offshore candidates.

And they have some career tips for candidates to consider before making a permanent move south. Visiting Australia first to meet with recruiters and employers will demonstrate your commitment to making a move, says Angus Price, a partner with Derwent Executive in Sydney.

Once you've secured a role, be prepared for a change of mindset, says Lyndsay Steadman, manager at Michael Page Banking & Finance in Sydney. "It's a realization that the Australian market is different and the global players don't have as bigger finance teams as some of the Australian ones," she says, adding that the products are more vanilla than those in London and New York.

Demonstrating a positive attitude toward working on smaller deals in a smaller pond will also help, says Michel. "If they're slightly humble about appreciating they don't know the local landscape, regulatory system, and infrastructure, then that's great."

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