Risk, compliance staff in hot demand

By Jamie Williamson

With regulatory demands showing no signs of slowing in 2024, experienced risk and compliance professionals remain hot property.

According to Kaizen Recruitment director Amanda Chisholm, factors like RG97, the Financial Accountability Regime, regulators' focus on greenwashing and continued scrutiny via Your Future, Your Super are driving demand for risk and compliance talent. Ongoing consolidation among super funds and sustained growth in funds management, particularly alternative managers, are also driving demand, she said.

However, despite some superannuation funds restructuring operations in late 2023 and bringing some fresh candidates to market, the talent pool remains shallow - particularly because a lot of employers are seeking niche skills, Chisholm added.

Experience across investment and market risk, investor reporting, enterprise and operational risk, ESG and sustainability risk, operational due diligence, and financial crime and cybersecurity are among the key skill sets in demand.

However, on the flip side, the firm did flag that staff attrition on risk and compliance teams is relatively high, not just because of the competition for talent.

"... this seems to be due to increased workloads and regulatory or enterprise structural risk project work across organisations stretching the capacity of lean teams. This is further amplified by organisations' internal time to hire vacant roles stretching into the four- to six-month mark," Chisholm said.

"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."

Of note, the recruiter has witnessed a trend of senior staff experiencing burnout and opting to leave their jobs despite having no other role lined up.

While the undersupply of talent might be aided by an increase in candidates from recently restructured organisations like Macquarie and two of the big banks, Chisholm said, their skills are likely less desirable to employers as they've "functioned as a small cog in a much more complex banking risk and compliance system."

Those who have been employed as contractors for remediation programs that have come to an end are also facing the prospect of taking a significant pay cut to enter the market in a different wealth or risk and compliance role, she said.