Good news for executive managers in Australia. The top ASX listed companies are embarking on major transformation programs across Finance creating demand for accounting, finance, risk, compliance and IT professionals. After a 2 year drought of roles in the $200k – $350k salary band there now seems to be a very strong appetite to hire talent.wth through market share.
Business Process Transformation and Business Growth
With market conditions still tough many businesses are scrutinizing their current talent pool and have identified several skills gaps in their Executive Management teams. The skill identified as most lacking in current Executive Managers today is commercial acumen. With most businesses enjoying huge growth in the last decade there has been very little scrutiny placed on the ability to provide strategic insights. Post GFC, the cost of financing any non-organic growth is high and the opportunity to grow through acquisition minimal. The result is most businesses have to turn to innovation in order to increase growth through market share.
After consultation with most of the major financial institutions in Australia it is apparent that the focus is very much on maximizing customer spend. But with outdated systems and a reluctance from employees to utilize Management information systems this is proving difficult. Hence most of the majors institutions are embarking on ambitious transformation programs that will ultimately improve the quality of real time data to the business.
Business Transformation Jobs Will Increase in 2011
Of course the main key driver of any business transformation program is to ultimately reduce running costs and improve output. But if we look at where most of the major hires have occurred in the last 12 months the big 4 banks have been keen to attract Executive General Managers for product lines such as cards, mortgages and business banking. The wealth managers have also begun major changes and with all of the big 4 banks now having sizeable wealth management arms expect even greater competition over the next six months. Notably Macquarie have commenced a business transformation program which now means that Australia’s 5 major banks are all competing for the same people.
The strategy for Executive Managers looking for new roles is simple. Position yourself as an executive manager who can deliver commercial insight and strategy to the business or as an executive manager who can deliver business transformation projects (this can include operations, systems, change management and off shoring). There will be a significant increase in executive management jobs by 2011.
Business Transformation Trends for 2011
Accounting & Finance
The days of the bean counter are gone. In their place you will find highly commercial, technical accountants who can influence stake holders, provide commercial insights, long-term strategies and sound financial risk advice to the business. The areas for accountants to develop include presentation, communication, influencing and financial modelling.
Risk & Compliance
If you rule with an iron fist then it is likely you won’t last long in today’s environment. Granted risk is taken far more seriously by banks and financial institutions. However if you think that this will result in you being loved forget it. Risk and compliance is now seen as a critical part of the business process and as such risk and compliance specialists must act in a business partnering manner. This means you need to brush up on your commercial skills and gain a true understanding of your stake holders business and how it makes money. The mantra for risk professionals now? “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”
Given the huge costs of hiring external consultants many businesses with long-term strategies have created their own in house consultancies. For those consultants who would prefer a regular pay packet, 2011 and beyond could provide stability and security. The preference is for candidates who have experience in one of the major global consultancies who have then moved into an operational role. Why? Companies want consultants who can implement practical strategies vs theories and high level analysis.
Ultimately the power still lies with the employer and it still takes an outstanding individual to persuade a business to hire externally. However with movement at a senior level gaining traction 2011 should hopefully see some real competition for talent.
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Dexter Cousins is an Executive Head Hunter and has been helping people with their careers for over ten years. As a consultant to Global organisations, Dexter has advised companies in the UK, Europe, USA, Asia and Australia on best practice hiring processes, diversity programs and talent mapping.