Professionals still braving global job market

by Human Capital17 Sep 2012

Two separate surveys have painted divergent views of Australia in terms of worker appeal – it’s popular for overseas workers, if they can afford it, but many Aussies still want out.

A new survey by eFinancialCareers has revealed that Australia is a great place for a career in finance, if you can afford it.

Finance workers would overwhelmingly recommend Australia for a career in finance (84%) to their overseas peers, with 81% identifying Sydney as the city with most potential according to the recent eFinancialCareers Annual Movement Survey.

However, while Australian finance workers may advocate their homeland as a career destination, the increasingly high cost of living in Australia is a concern for many in the industry.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents indicated that the high cost of living in Australia is the worst thing about residing here, while an additional 20% pointed to Australia’s high tax regime as a comparatively negative issue. This is perhaps unsurprising given that Sydney, the finance workers’ city of choice, was recently ranked the seventh most expensive city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Cost of Living Index (February 2012).

“Whilst Australia is increasingly seen as a career destination for finance, it is also seen as an increasingly expensive place to live, and this is impacting on firms’ abilities to attract overseas candidates,” said eFinancialCareers managing director Asia Pacific, George McFerran.

The Living Away From Home Allowance also disappears at the end of September meaning foreign talent will no longer get assistance with their living expenses.

Interestingly, the majority of finance professionals surveyed believe the removal of this benefit will not affect international talent flow (69%) into Australia.

“Whilst that’s good news for the majority of firms, for some the removal of LAFHA may prove an additional hurdle to source quality overseas talent who would have otherwise moved down under in a heartbeat,” said McFerran, who added that recruiters should be focusing on “lifestyle benefits” to overseas workers interested in living in Australia.

A separate survey, by Robert Walters, indicated that despite the cautious local and global economy, many Aussies themselves are keen to work overseas.

The latest Recruitment Intelligence Survey asked over 300 professionals for their thoughts on working overseas. The research found that 60% of professionals are considering a move overseas in the near future, with 37% citing a change of lifestyle and culture as their main motivator. Asia was the most popular choice of destination, with 27% of professionals wanting to work there.

Erica Lindberg, director at Robert Walters, said that despite the negative reports and high levels of unemployment overseas, professionals are still keen to have a ‘gap year’ and experience working in another country. However, she urged candidates to look locally before heading overseas: “With skill shortages across many industries in Australia there are many jobs available locally with great remuneration, outstanding career progression and the opportunity to work on world class projects.”


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