2021 outlook for our people in wealth management

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As Australia’s wealth management industry moves into 2021, forecasts for the new year range from concern about markets, stretched equity valuations, consequences of the huge fiscal stimulus measures in the wake of the pandemic and another sudden shock to the economic system.

However, industry people specialists the SR Group sees the biggest challenge of the new year is how to bring our people on the journey to a changed world.

SR Group predicts there will be two main ways forward for wealth management leaders, c-suite and HR departments in 2021:

  • INWARD-focused organisations and leaders that seek to repair the damage caused by COVID, cut-costs and make operational tweaks to get back to where they were before the pandemic, and those that
  • OUTWARD-focused organisations and people whom embrace the opportunity to rebuild for the future, become more innovative for the changed world.

These two types will retain and attract very different types of employees and human resource departments responses, said Cathy Doyle, Chair of SR Group (including the transformed SuperRecruiters, SR Consult and SR Research).

Prepare for the future now

“The ‘future now’ organisation requires an increased focus on the people, the human aspects of business; rather than the processes and operations of those trying to get back to where they were,” says Ms Doyle.

“The pace of change is increasing, and we need to ensure roles – and our people – going forward are able to not only keep pace with that change, but to also develop new ways of doing what and will be required,” she said. “This is one of the greatest challenges for not only HR leaders, but all of the c-suite in 2021.”

Roles in demand

SR Group expects the roles to be in greatest demand in 2021 will be:

  • Data management and analysis, as well as
  • Cyber security.

“Wealth management organisations will all need internal cyber security experts, not just more risk managers.”

War for talent increases

The ‘war for talent’ is also expected to increase in intensity, noted Ms Doyle, as organisations compete for the pool of proven performers who can deliver results. “Now, there is an even smaller pool of talent that can work from home and deliver results. “Every hire is crucial today and some people aren’t going to be successful working from home, be it full or part-time”.

She suggested personal attributes that HR departments look for in potential, and even existing, employees include higher levels of:

  •  Self-motivation,
  • Resilience, and
  • Mental agility, as well as
  • Empathy.

HR leaders also need to increase their flexibility. For example, many employees were looking to continue working from home two days a week. “We have cases where people are leaving roles where they were required to be in the office five days a week for a similar role where they could work from home. Flexibility of work location is as valuable to employees as a bonus or other benefit.”

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