Published on November 21, 2014
When one thinks about Australia, the most common images that come to mind are typically associated with beautiful coastlines, an overwhelming variety of flora and fauna and, probably, the famous Sydney Opera House. However little do people know, but Australia is also home to one the most developed financial industries in the world. This means that aspiring finance specialists should also include Australia on their must-visit lists: just imagine yourself analyzing the financial markets and making investment decisions in the office during the day, and riding waves or getting familiar with wild animals after work. Talking about the ideal work-life balance right here!
The Australian economy has demonstrated one of the best performances in the world since the 2008-09 global financial crisis. There are several factors contributing to the country’s economic resilience and health, but the the key one is definitely the Australia's strong and secure banking system. According to Standard & Poor’s ranking, its banking sector has been included in the list of five safest in the world. The Australian big four banks - National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and Australia and New Zealand Bank Group - have all earned AA ratings. The reason why the Australian banking system is so strong lies within the overall market structure: the four major financial institutions form an oligopoly, giving them a competitive advantage and excess earnings spread over the long period of time. Just like in any oligopolistic system, they enjoy scale, cost and capital advantages.
Australia is also a very attractive country for investors thanks to its location as a financial services hub within the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific region. On top of that, the country’s investment potential is actively backed up by the regulatory support: the Australian government has been encouraging the inflow of investment and launching such initiatives as taxation exemption for foreign investors and the implementation of an investment management regime.
The financial service industry is the fourth largest economic sectors in Australia, contributing over 8% to its domestic GDP. Australia’s financial service industry is described by international businesses as strong, liquid and sophisticated. It is comprised of a great diversity of foreign and national institutions of various sizes and complexity which creates great opportunities for financial specialists to find and occupy their niches.
There are over 400,000 people employed in the industry (2012 figures) with the top finance occupations being bank workers, financial investment advisors, credit and loan officers and financial brokers. The employment figures have been steadily increasing thanks to new jobs created in the sector over the past five years. This trend is expected to continue into the year 2017. The financial services workforce in Australia is multilingual, highly skilled and well-educated. Most finance professionals in Australia have earned at least a Bachelor degree. Recently there has been an increase in demand for Islamic Banking and Financial services, leading to the creation of the new Masters program with the same name at La Trobe University.
The financial services industry in Australia attracts many women. According to Finsia (the Financial Services Institute of Australasia), women make up over 50% of the industry at graduate level and 36.2% of finance managers are women. Australia's gender pay gap is currently at 18.2%; but there are many initiatives geared towards closing it.
In order to secure a position in banking or finance, one should posses strong analytical and interpersonal skills, as there will be many daily interactions involved with various stakeholders and clients.
Most finance professionals work a traditional full-time Monday-Friday job in an office or bank environment. However, you can expect to be requested to work overtime, depending on the organization’s and customers’ needs. To be successful in this industry, it is important for finance professionals to continuously build their networks and make sure they stay on top of the industry updates as well as follow relevant news. According to Graduate Careers Australia, joining a professional industry body like Finsia will give one “an immediate access to valuable member resources, career advice and mentoring services, powerful industry networks and thought-leading programs”.
If you would like to get valuable experience in banking or investment, Australia is a great place to look into. More specifically, you should definitely visit Melbourne, the financial center of Australia where 50 % of the country’s funds and superannuation assets are managed from. Such financial giants as Goldman Sachs, Franklin Templeton, BlackRock, Standard & Poor’s and Vanguard chose Melbourne to establish their headquarters. Finally, the City of Melbourne sponsors several large networking events for financial professionals, including the annual Melbourne Financial Services Symposium and the two-day Thought Leadership Forum. From working in one of the world’s most developed financial industries in the world, you will earn an opportunity to learn the best industry practices and network with the Australian diverse and skillful workforce.
Apply now for a finance internship in Australia to boost your career in finance!