The Irish are coming and so are the jobs

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Bank of Ireland has opened a project finance office in Sydney and is looking to create more jobs in the city, according to Tom Hayes, chief executive of the firm's corporate banking division.

"Over the next 12 to 18 months, we see significant opportunities in a number of key market areas, including the electricity market (particularly generation), oil and gas plus infrastructure/PPP," says Hayes. "We have a solid pipeline of opportunities that give us every confidence for the future."

"Our current headcount is at four, and while no specific staff numbers have been targeted we anticipate that opportunities will grow as our business develops."

Mary Grant, principal consultant in recruitment firm Hudson's banking and finance team, wishes the bank the best of Irish luck in finding a pool of quality project finance talent. "Supply is tight and it's quite a specialised and complex sector."

"Quality candidates will be very smart and able to think outside the box. Most will have finance-related degrees, but banks may also take on people with mining and engineering degrees," she says.

Grant confirms an experienced project finance specialist with three to five years' experience can command a base salary of about AUS$130k-$140k, plus bonus, in the current market.

Bob Olivier, director at recruiter Olivier Group, says execs can earn around AUS$250k and agrees that supply is tight for quality candidates. "However, there is talk that some infrastructure projects might not get off the ground because of the higher costs of funding," he adds.