Last week saw the release of Morgan McKinley’s 2015 Australian Salary Guide, detailing what we’re seeing in the market across our core competencies of Accounting & Finance, IT, Project Management, Risk & Compliance, and of course Strategy.
Across the strategy market we saw a number of key trends in terms of both salaries and the nature of strategy disciplines in highest demand.
Looking first at the broader thematic, all our clients are actively adding to their strategy capabilities and there has been a clear shift as to the remit of the corporates with whom we work: cost-out and transformation programs are coming to an end and growth is now firmly back on the agenda. On a micro-scale, strategy disciplines which are currently most in demand span customer experience and loyalty, innovation, data insights, online strategy, M&A and productivity.
Turning our attention to remuneration, we saw little movement (be it up or down) in salaries across financial services, albeit still offering higher short-term incentives than their commerce & industry peers. Looking at C&I, which continues to be led by telecommunications, FMCG, and infrastructure, the salary movements we did see were to the upside, particularly at Senior Analyst and Manager levels. Delving deeper into this trend, my colleagues and I have identified that this is the most talent-short area of the strategy market, due namely to a few key factors:
Top tier management consultants will generally head offshore to undertake an MBA 2-3yrs after commencing their consulting career (McKinsey, in fact, are unlikely to promote beyond Associate level unless an MBA or a corporate role has been fulfilled). This also results in MBA graduates committing to 12-18mth lock-in agreements once they return to Australia.
Where industry and the consulting houses will pay similar salaries from 0-3yrs, staying on in consulting for the 4th and 5th years is generally a more lucrative proposition in terms of both dollars and seniority.
Financial services has generally been a more attractive value proposition for consultants entering in-house roles by virtue of the fact they were impacted far less during the downturn than the likes of FMCG or aviation, and that the Big 4 banks account for a major proportion of the ASX50 which is reflected accordingly in where the roles are. Taking this into consideration, along with the fact that the market is short Senior Analyst/Manager candidates, we have seen companies in C&I offering higher base salaries to secure talent.
We’ve noticed an increasing trend of sourcing candidates from offshore to fill the emerging gap in what is an increasingly candidate-short market. To this end we now have two dedicated researchers sitting within our Strategy desk complimented by our research function in India, and in additional to this Anika Stokes will shortly be heading to Europe sourcing talent on a two week roadshow.