Salaries jump as finance and accounting hiring gains speed – The Australian Financial Review

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The finance and accounting hiring has gained speed since early 2021, and the war for talent is becoming increasingly fierce.
Employers are having to pay bigger salaries to attract staff to their organisations as living costs escalate and labour shortages emerge, giving greater bargaining power to job candidates.
Accounting and finance sector employers are paying more to attract talented staff. 
Robert Half director Andrew Brushfield says digital transformation remains a top strategic priority for finance teams as they diversify revenue streams and automate operations.
Across many finance and accounting roles, businesses are seeking professionals with a blend of strong data analysis and predictive analysis skills with commercial acumen.
“This is seeing high demand for financial accountants, financial planning and analysis managers, and financial analyst roles. We are seeing that employers are offering a 10 per cent to 12 per cent salary increase across the board in order to keep pace with inflation and compete against the
heightened demand for finance talent,” says Brushfield.
“Those that bring commercial acumen alongside strong business intelligence skills — particularly Power BI and Tableau — are seeing 15 per cent to 20 per cent salary increases and more,” he said.
Employers are offering a 10 per cent to 12 per cent salary increase across the board, says Andrew Brushfield. 
Andrew McKissock, national director in banking and finance, Randstad, adds that the digital revolution is driving big growth in salaries for those with data analysis skills and those employed in fintech roles.
“Data has seen some of the biggest growth across the banking and finance industry, as all companies aim to gain a deeper understanding of their customers. The need for data leads, data engineers, analysts and governance professionals have increased, with salary expectations increasing by 12 to 15 per cent,” says McKissock.
“Digitisation, data, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) analytics are not only transforming the [finance] industry, but in the process, reducing costs and increasing overall connectivity. Due to the unprecedented growth in technology, there is an ever-increasing need for fintech specialists, and significant demand for cyber security specialists,” he adds.
“IT salaries have grown by over 20 per cent across Australia, with operations and customer-facing salaries increasing by 10 per cent in the first few months of 2022 in Sydney. We have seen a similar upswing in salaries across risk, compliance and client-facing banking roles.”
The qualified accounting job market is also candidate-driven, especially at
the analyst level. “Due to the market shortages in candidates coming from overseas, there is high demand for roles and low supply in quality talent. We are therefore finding those with one to three years’ experience are achieving a 20 per cent hike in salary,” says McKissock.
The digital revolution is driving big growth in salaries, says Andrew McKissock, national director in banking and finance, Randstad. 
According to Robert Half’s Finance and Accounting 2022 Salary Guide, demand is rising for roles including financial controllers, management accountants, and financial accountants with strong valuation and modelling capabilities to guide sustainable expansion, with business partnering, forecasting, and budgeting skills a top priority for finance professionals.
In consumer and business lending, there is significant growth, with many client-facing and back-office roles created, including phone-based roles. “As part of this trend, we have seen strong recruitment activity for operational roles across banking, insurance and superannuation,” says McKissock.
According to Mercer’s new hire pay rate, the professional services industry, which includes accounting and finance jobs overall, was paying 2.2 per cent more for external or new hires than for existing employees in the same role, more than any other sector in the Australian workforce. Mercer’s remuneration database reveals the overall new hire pay rate across all jobs for May 2022 was -1.5 per cent, with a negative number indicating that the market is hiring at salaries below those being paid to existing employees.
According to Mercer’s data, accounting and advisory firms passed on the highest increases to consultants at the senior professional level (with median salary increases for those in the same role at the same organisation in excess of 11 per cent year-on-year). Within that, overall audit, risk and digital strategy advisory had the highest median increases at 12 per cent, 11 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively.
“Looking at existing employees in the broader finance job family – of the top 10 jobs with the highest annual movement in the 12 months to April 2022, two came from the finance job family, including entry-level accounting clerks and entry-level general finance graduates,” said Chi Tran, leader in Mercer’s Pacific workforce consulting team.
While the median salary movement across all industries was 2.1 per cent, salaries for the same people at the same organisations in these two roles (that is, entry-level accounting clerks and entry-level general finance graduates) moved 7.6 per cent and 8.5 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.
Apart from beefing up pay packets, employers are also adopting other strategies to attract staff, including offering flexible working as part of the standard package and offering signing bonuses to new employees, with Robert Half’s Finance and accounting 2022 Salary Guide finding that 65 per cent of employers are offering signing bonuses to new employees to get them on their books.
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