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What does the Royal Commission into Banking have to do with how you engage financial services staff? A lot. As the appetite for risk in the industry has flatlined, demand for risk management specialists has risen, as companies look to roll back past mistakes and avoid new scandal without compromising commercial interests.

James Matthews, Enterprise Sales Manager, Financial Services & Government at Expert360, says risk and compliance is a core growth area for demand across the platform.

“In a post-RCB world, agile professionals, customer experience professionals and risk and compliance professionals are the three biggest growth areas in the financial services sector.”

With research showing employers in Australia’s financial and insurance services sector are the fastest growing users of the contingent workforce, being part of talent on-demand platforms is the smartest way to get access to a highly sought after, and increasingly scarce professional skill set.

A competitive market for risk specialists

The post-RCB world means an increasingly competitive market for financial services specialists.

“We’re in a climate now where the sector is going to be increasingly regulated, no matter how hard the financial institutions lobby. Financial institutions need to look at existing frameworks and make them more robust,” James says.

“There was already a skills shortage in that area of the market, even before the RCB. The top risk professionals are seeing the opportunity and choosing to freelance and work on an advisory basis.”

Shifting culture with an international approach

Despite banks and financial institutions investing significantly in building large teams of risk and compliance specialists, the scandals unearthed by the Commission have highlighted the need for fresh and objective expertise, necessarily removed from the very culture that needs fixing. In many cases, this means the talent would be sought from beyond our borders.

“Demand will spike for external parties doing advisory work, rather than building and monitoring everything in-house. And access to international talent has a big role to play,” James says.

Given that Australia tends to follow trends in the sector first introduced in the UK and US, it makes sense that overseas recruitment is top of mind to tap into the more mature regulatory, political and media focus on financial services misconduct.

“Companies are crying out for international talent with niche risk and compliance skill-sets. If you’re an internal recruitment person or a headhunter, it’s very much a slow burn of building relationships to encourage people to relocate,” says James.

“But now you can access that global talent marketplace quickly, in real time and there’s potential for remote work. Online marketplaces give you an active pool of talent, and that talent doesn’t necessarily need to be sitting in your office to do the work.”

Whereas recruitment may be passive, a platform like Expert360 provides access to talent actively looking for consulting or freelance work. The built-in algorithm matches you with consultants matching your needs in the market in real-time.

Risk is more complex than compliance

Risk specialists are a crucial part of the Australian industry rebuilding with caution, but without compromising on innovation and opportunity.

“You may have designed your risk framework around preventing future breaches, but you’ve still got to have your commercial hat on,” says James.

“Even in this new environment, you need to attract specialists who know how far they can push the line and keep risk proactive and responsive to changing markets. Risk is more complex than compliance, and it needs the right skill-set that goes beyond compliance.”

Smart ways to secure top talent

As the balance of power shifts toward employees with risk management experience, they’re likely to be attracted to working with firms known for leadership and innovation, and who have responded to the current industry climate.

Position your organisation as an employer of choice by:

  • Embedding risk ownership culture across your organisation
  • Maintaining transparent remuneration and incentive policies and procedures linked to customer outcomes
  • Using professional platforms that prioritise seamless talent and employer experiences.
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