One of the biggest challenges facing financial services employers is the ability to motivate and retain key talent, meaning development and progression planning programs must become more structured.

This is the view of digital, sales and marketing recruitment firm Perceptor. In its latest market trends and salary review, Perceptor said 2017 was a year where financial services candidates looked at leaving bigger organisations to join fintech and start-up businesses.

Director of Perceptor’s financial services practice, Richard Baker said: “Anticipation of modest wage growth within their existing firms meant skilled candidates were typically open to hearing about external opportunities. As ever, those that did make a move were generally able to command higher salaries.”

In Sydney and Melbourne, marketing directors or chief marketing officers can command salaries of more than $350,000 the Perceptor report said. A head of customer experience can command anywhere between $175,000 and $200,000, and chief digital officers are asking for upwards of $270,000.

In the technology field, program managers are commanding more than $180,000 and a head of data analytics can be asking for more than $220,000.

Baker noted pay reviews were disappointing with average salaries only growing in line with inflation, at best.

“For most, however, the clouds had a silver lining: bonus payments remained pleasing, albeit not exceptional,” he said.

“The sub-$200,000 segment was again the most buoyant area of the market in both Sydney and Melbourne. There was a high level of turnover in the $100-$150,000 range.”

Baker said at the junior level candidates appeared willing to change roles every 12 to 18 months for incremental salary improvements.

He said skilled candidates in the digital space remained in particular demand, as companies strived to improve customer engagement through the use of innovative and effective digital communications.

“A limited supply of candidates with proven expertise in data analytics, digital content generation, CRM software and media planning/strategy, for example, continued to be in strong demand,” he said.

Baker added the financial services industry is benefiting from employees wanting to change roles or organisations, especially as businesses look to “super-size” or address skills shortages.

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