Will advice firms take on workplace visas to ease shortage?

ESG financial advice overseas migration expats recruitment Sarah Abood siaa Kaizen Recruitment

20 May 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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The FAAA has suggested looking offshore for overseas financial advisers to ease the adviser shortage, but are employers willing to take on the burden of workplace visas?

Speaking at the Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association (SIAA) annual conference in Melbourne, the Financial Advice Association Australia chief executive, Sarah Abood, said looking offshore could be one way to ease the adviser shortage.

She said: “Do we need to look offshore? That’s very topical now with the government looking to put caps on international students. We are underrepresented in a number of cultural and linguistic groups, so we are not restricting ourselves.”

This would have the dual effect of helping to make the industry more diverse, SIAA chief executive Judith Fox added.

However, problems remain around the ability and willingness of companies to sponsor workers from overseas. This is in addition to financial advice-specific difficulties around foreign qualifications and possible need to complete a Professional Year.

According to Jobs and Skills Australia, financial investment adviser is a career experiencing a national shortage, having being added to the skills shortage list for the first time last year.

There are currently around 657,000 working visa holders in Australia, but there are strict requirements and high costs involved for employers when sponsoring a candidate compared to hiring a domestic candidate.

As a result, a report from recruitment firm People2People said almost half (47 per cent) of the 1,000 employers surveyed by the firm said they would be unwilling to sponsor a new recruit to their business. Only 19 per cent said they would be very willing to take on a worker who had migrated here.

Even if a candidate satisfied all the job requirements, over a third of employers said they would be still be unwilling to hire a remote worker. 

“As talent shortages persist, sponsoring overseas workers can significantly alleviate the recruitment process for employers with the capability to do so, while also providing access to a broader talent pool," the People2People report said.

“Temporary visa holders continue to represent a valuable source of skilled workers for temporary work assignments, while providing employers with the option to sponsor them if needed.

“Facilitating labour mobility within your country, along with the opportunity to hire remote workers, also unlocks access to new talent pools. This approach may lead to potential cost reductions for organisations, as salary levels vary from one country or state to another.”

This was echoed by Simon Gvalda from Kaizen Recruitment, who said the same problem occurs in the fund management and superannuation space where he has found companies reluctant to embark on the visa sponsorship process. 

Gvalda, who specialises in recruiting for ESG roles, said: “We have seen excellent candidates coming from overseas, Europe and the UK are generally further ahead of Australia when it comes to ESG. There is a lot of ESG talent that has been coming over to Australia, but the challenging part is they usually have visas which makes it tricky. A lot of businesses aren’t always that open to considering that option for talent.

“I have seen people with some great experience, but if they’re only a working holiday visa, it makes it very tricky for them to get a job here as businesses see it as a lot of effort. But there are lots of different visas out there, and companies should look into that as some visas may be more suitable than others.”

Click here to read Money Management's previous interview with financial adviser Daniel Nel who moved to Australia from South Africa.

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