Steady, steady, steady: Why there's always work in superannuation

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Superannuation nest egg

Overall employment growth remains steady in the Melbourne superannuation market as mergers, MySuper and self-managed funds help drive demand for jobs.

Mergers and the job market

Industry fund mergers – such as AustralianSuper and AGEST Super; Equipsuper and Vision Super; and First State Super and Health Super – are creating niche recruitment activity. “Superannuation funds Australia-wide continue to discuss the possibility of merging to grow. This is an active space and shows very few signs of slowing,” says Blake Pascoe, recruitment consultant, Kaizen Recruitment.

For most super funds, however, mergers are uncharted waters. Trustee boards and long-serving executives require senior business executives and programme managers with merger experience to guide them through the process. “In an industry that has historically focussed so much on keeping costs low, the cost associated with mergers can create some serious challenges,” says Pascoe.

Finding experienced professionals who know how to influence important stakeholders, including board members, is challenging. “Consultancy firms offer solutions to this skills shortage, but this is a costly process, and when projects finish, the IP walks out the door with the consultant,” he adds. Funds are therefore starting to hire the same staff that consultancies use, bringing them in-house on a permanent basis.

Other drivers

The introduction of MySuper, the low-cost default scheme, and the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms means superfunds continue to require business analysts, programme managers, product specialists and project managers, says Matt McGilton, director, Kaizen Recruitment.

Self-managed super funds are another driver. They make up one of the fastest growing segments in superannuation, although the industry remains fragmented, with the largest supplier only having about a 2 per cent share of the overall market.

There will be strong demand for qualified accountants with self-managed experience as this industry continues to grow. Accounting specialists and compliance people are sought after, with mid-level positions commanding salaries of about $80k to $90k, according to McGilton.

Cost control

Although there will be a reasonable amount of hiring this year, funds are trying to keep compensation costs under control. Trustee boards are being more proactive than they were during the GFC and are positioning themselves to handle another potential global downturn.

“One area that is suffering is day-rate contractors. Funds are focussing on reducing costs by offering fixed-term contracts instead of paying large day rates, which often lead to projects going over budget,” says Pascoe.

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