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Australian CFOs paying a premium for finance skills
Fri, 12th Jan 2024

Australian Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are willing to pay a significant premium to secure new hires possessing the financial skills and expertise they desperately need, new independent research from specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals.

The research shows that depending on the specific skills, certifications, and experience of finance job candidates, they could potentially receive up to a 31% salary rise above current market rates. Furthermore, up to 42% of CFOs are willing to offer higher salaries than the market rate to secure candidates who hold such in-demand skills. The average salary premium that CFOs are ready to pay for candidates with key skills stands at 25%.

While financial expertise is critically important to CFOs, candidates with broader business skills are also highly sought after. In terms of hiring priorities, financial planning and project management dominate, with candidates in these areas commanding a salary premium of 31%, with 42% and 21% of CFOs respectively willing to offer such elevated salaries for these skills. Other areas such as financial reporting, financial modelling, leadership, management, and big data analytics also generate significant salary premiums and are considered critical by a substantial number of CFOs.

Nicole Gorton, Director at Robert Half, points out that candidates with such skills bring a unique advantage to organisations, particularly in periods of rapid change. Gorton says, "These types of premiums and salary increases are not on offer to everyone. Business leaders are looking for staff who can propel innovation and swiftly adapt to changing conditions. They are willing to pay a salary premium because of the pivotal role the candidate will play in steering companies towards growth as well as maintaining a distinct competitive edge."

It seems CFOs are willing to be flexible on certain experience levels and certifications if a candidate can still offer other advantages. The research indicates that 26% of CFOs will overlook specific industry experience, 31% will bend on the number of years of experience, and 18% will be flexible about certifications, yet only 7% are willing to compromise on the level of education required.

Furthermore, some fields demand certain certifications to even be considered for the role, including finance and accounting (75%), financial accounting and business advisory (70%), management accounting and strategic financial management (64%), taxation (62%), and risk management, governance and control (54%).

Gorton concluded, "While employers are increasingly open to hiring candidates with the right skill set, even if their industry experience is limited, certifications still provide tangible proof of a candidate's expertise in key areas. The latter is especially crucial for sectors like finance and technology, which demand a high degree of accuracy and regulatory compliance. These credentials assure employers that these candidates possess the necessary in-depth knowledge and proficiency to succeed in these demanding sectors."