Advice business networks addressing staff shortage challenges

Advice principals are benefiting from the sharing of information and knowledge addressing the challenge of retaining and attracting staff in a tight labour market.

With Wealth Data showing a net change of advisers of -3,284 in 2021 and the unemployment rate falling to 4% in February, Principals’ Community managing director, Kon Costas, said attracting and keeping staff was a key threat to businesses.

Speaking with Money Management, Costas said “The financial services industry is not immune to that sort of pressure on the employment market.

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“So as a community, what we spend a fair bit of time on is understanding our businesses, understanding where their pressure points are, understanding different strategies and different scenarios on what businesses are doing to [retain and attract] staff.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, job vacancies in the financial and insurances services sector had increased by about a third in one year, going from 12,800 in November 2020 to 17,000 in November 2021.

Costas said his community of Principals were learning from each other on how to best manage staff and support them with flexibility and freedom to keep and attract talent.

He said there were several different ways that businesses in the Principal’s Community were addressing staffing challenges as there was not just “one system that fits all”.

“Some businesses… are focusing on flexible work hours [and] others are focusing on providing an education pathway that helps the staff grow in their own right,” he said.

One of the most recent success stories, according to Costas, was a business in his community focusing on developing an equity participation platform for senior staff.

“And what they've been able to do is take that same methodology and expand it across their broader staff team and provide everyone an opportunity to participate in in the equity program.”

The newly-formed Principals’ Community had received strong support from the self-licensed community with more than 92% of previous businesses signing new agreements this year.

Last year, the independent community parted ways with BT Financial Group after more than seven years, with the sole purpose of providing support and guidance to Australian Financial Services Licensees (AFSL) holders without encountering conflicts from institutional ownership, rules surrounding being a product manufacturer or platform provider and having existing AFSL obligations.

Costas said: “The feedback and support we have received from the 122 community members has been exceptional, truly highlighting a significant desire for support as they grow in the everchanging post-COVID and post-Royal Commission environment”.

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