05 February 2009

Financial planners in demand in Australia

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Despite doors closing in every which direction for university graduates in the banking and financial services, experts suggest that another door may be opening for young professionals, reports Money Management.

Last year, 73 per cent of graduate positions for those in the banking and financial services became unavailable, while companies are delaying starting dates for graduate recruits, and others are reassessing again the number of graduates they need to take on during 2009-10. 

However, Paul Williams, AXA Financial Planning national manager, said although graduates may be at a loss in the traditional job roles for finance graduates, there will be plenty of opportunities in an increasingly emerging financial market caused by the aging Australian population.

"We have around 16,000 advisers in Australia and the average age is 55.  One in five practice principals will retire in the next five years.  Demand for advice will continue to grow.  So unless we’re still attracting new advisers into the industry, there is going to be a gap,” Williams said.

A recruitment agent says as Australia rides out the economic storm, demand for graduates and trainees in the banking and finance services would pick up again, leaving a critical skills gap in the industry again. 

"As we see fewer organisations recruit trainees into the business and train them up, as the market starts to pick up again, that skill shortage we’ve seen in recent years will be pronounced again," said Hays Recruitment’s Jane McNeill.

Wayne Handley, general manger of adviser growth and succession at MLC, claims he predicted this growing skills shortage this time last year, and that there is likely to be an increase in the number of people directing their careers towards financial planning during the economic downturn as their job prospects automatically increase.

There is some contention as to whether Australia would maintain its record numbers of skilled migration during the 2009-10 financial year.  Some argue that the high numbers of people emigrating to Australia would be detrimental during the rising unemployment period, while others debate that the financial contribution migrants add to the community would outweigh the effects of a rising population during hard economic times. 

Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, has said the General Skilled Migration programme would keep the 133,500 skilled migration visas at a ceiling, but that the immigration quota would be reviewed in line with the current economic climate.


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