investor daily logo

Super consolidation stokes compliance talent demand

By Jasmine Siljic
3 minute read

Competition is heating up in the shallow talent pool for compliance professionals, according to Kaizen Recruitment, which note continued consolidation of super funds as a key driver of demand.

As persistent regulatory changes continue to drive demand for risk and compliance teams in financial services firms, competition is heating up in the shallow talent pool.

In a market update, Kaizen Recruitment shared its insights on the current landscape for compliance and risk employment.

“Regulatory demands remain persistent with no signs of slowing down and given the shallow pool of candidates with in-depth experience within the different facets of risk and compliance in Australia, competition for the best talent persists,” the recruitment firm stated.

It identified the continued consolidation of super funds and sustained growth in funds management among key drivers of demand for compliance professionals.

Last year saw a number of mergers take place, including UniSuper with Australian Catholic Superannuation, Mercer Super with BT Super, Hostplus with Maritime Super, and Cbus Super with EISS Super.

For the year ahead, there are several mergers in the pipeline such as Mine Super and TWUSUPER, AvSuper and the Australian Retirement Trust (ART), and CareSuper and Spirit Super.

Kaizen elaborated: “Several large-scale mergers of diversified financial services businesses, trustees, and scaling fintech platform businesses have all required resourcing.

“Increased regulatory change and pressure from regulators to deliver these required changes with looming deadlines put pressure on risk and compliance teams all year, leaving already lean teams stretched with scaling regulatory project work.”

It qualitatively observed unusually high levels of staff attrition on risk and compliance teams due to such increased workloads. This has also been coupled with structural risk project work across organisations, therefore stretching the capacity of lean teams.

These challenges have been further exacerbated by businesses’ internal time to hire vacant roles, which is taking approximately four to six months.

“With time to hire at an all-time high, this leaves current staff to cover the existing workloads, and middle and senior management seem to be bearing the brunt of picking up the workloads in these under-resourced teams.

“The most concerning trend we have noticed is surrounding senior candidate burnout in firms at the end of 2023, with candidates opting to resign even without a new opportunity secured.”

The recruitment firm described the key skills in demand for compliance professionals. Namely, these were investment and market risk, investor reporting, ESG and sustainability risk, regulatory compliance and financial crime.

Looking ahead to 2024, the recruitment company expects the trend of niche skills and higher competition for compliance staff to persist.

“We forecast the shallow skill sets of risk and compliance professionals, particularly in superannuation and funds management, will continue into 2024 as organisations compete for niche skill sets as they all mirror the same scaling in preparation for regulatory changes impacting business,” Kaizen stated.