2017 Salary Guide: Australian markets remain in position of strength

Louise Langridge
February 26, 20177 mins read

Movement across multiple specialisms allowing the Australian market to flow and develop in an upwards manner.

27 February 2017, Australia – Leading global professional services recruiter, Morgan McKinley, has released it’s 2017 Australian Salary Guide, providing insights into hiring and salary trends over the past 12 months and forecasts for the current year. The guide covers Morgan McKinley’s specialist sectors and professional disciplines: Accounting & Finance, IT & Business Transformation, Analytics, Risk & Compliance and Strategy & Innovation.

Key Highlights

  • Overall salaries have remained flat across traditional role types in 2016
  • We have seen a positive increase in salaries in niche areas such as analytics, digital, agile and innovation as organisations look to bring in core capabilities to deliver business growth
  • The increased pressure from the SME and startup community is firing multinationals and globals into action
  • We see a continued demand for specialists who can communicate effectively outside their core discipline to engage the business
  • Change and transformation projects are continuing to drive recruitment across a multitude of industries, specialisms and companies
  • New regulatory requirements continue to affect  the financial services sector and all subsequent recruitment with regards to risk and compliance
  • The push towards cost-efficiencies and process improvements continues as organisations move towards increased automation and the use of robotics
  • Hiring freezes and bonus cuts have finally been released across high-earning businesses
  • Businesses are striving for improved gender balance at leadership levels but progress has been slow


Louise Langridge, Joint Managing Director of Morgan McKinley Australia said:

“Although we have seen a lot of uncertainty in the world economy in 2016 in response to Brexit and more recently Trump, demand has remained strong for strategically important capabilities that will allow organisations to grow. That being said there is certainly a level of conservatism in the market which has lead to a tightly controlled cost environment in many quarters so there is no real surprise that for more traditional role types salaries remained relatively flat in 2016.”

“Where we have seen increased spikes in salaries is in areas where demand has outstripped supply. The Big Data space highlights this trend as organisations have looked to increase capability and have had to compete for key talent.“

“We have also seen a shift in job growth being fuelled by the SME and startup markets in 2016 often competing for top talent and being able to offer individuals a more entrepreneurial and flexible working environment. We would expect this to continue in 2017 as large corporates continue to drive efficiency and automation reducing overall job growth in this area.”

Here is a summary of the main trends Morgan McKinley has observed in the professional disciplines it serves in Australia:

Accounting & Finance - Commerce & Industry

  • Although we saw an increasing trend for a preference of contractors over permanent headcount in certain spaces for cost effective purposes, permanent recruitment was stronger in 2016 than in previous years
  • A key challenge currently is finding hard to find skill sets in immediately available candidates. Clients are also pushing the boundaries in terms of what they are seeking in a candidate
  • The market’s peaks and troughs are harder to predict now a heavier focus on project delivery based work is at the forefront


Accounting & Finance - Financial Services

  • Competition is increasing through a range of new FinTechs joining the market who are actively hiring with a focus on forward-thinking talent
  • Most large financial services companies will be looking to drive increased productivity and cost saving initiatives
  • There has been an increase in the number of overseas opportunities for Australian citizens



  • Data analytics, cyber security and cloud based technology experience are particularly sought after
  • Audit has been recognised as one of the most prominent specialisms to allow ease of movement across countries
  • Regulatory changes will continue to drive recruitment within the sector


Projects & Change Management

  • Continued demand for Agile candidates hired on a contract basis
  • We have seen an increased demand for permanent  and fixed term contract hires in what is now a much tougher sourcing environment
  • Regulatory requirements in the financial services space continues to drive project spend


Business Analysis

  • A continual demand for Agile experience as organisations adopt this methodology over the traditional Waterfall approach
  • Regulatory projects within financial services organisations continue to secure priority funding as compliance obligations increase
  • We are seeing an increase in the number of transformation projects as companies look to become more customer-centric and cost efficient


Risk Management

  • We are seeing continued growth in specialised areas such as technology and cyber risk
  • The Big 4 are feeling the loss with high numbers of IT auditors and tech risk candidates being head hunted into the banks
  • There is an increased demand for operational risk professionals



  • AUSTRAC are expanding their coverage and are now monitoring areas such as health funds, telecommunications businesses and the gambling industry
  • Candidates with experience in superannuation, insurance and financial advice are highly sought after
  • Compliance continues to be a female-led industry



  • We see more companies forming independent strategy and innovation teams alongside their innovation hubs
  • The demand for female candidates has increased exponentially to the point where a large percentage of global and multinational organisations are vocalising a strong preference for female candidates at more senior levels
  • Australia is an attractive location to sell a candidate on if companies are prepared to look at international candidates



  • Innovation has been an important focus over the last few years for most ASX organisations. There is consistent transformation in understanding the best way to approach innovation and how to successfully deliver this into a business
  • The types of candidates important to the development of innovation will work across setting a structure and governance to embed it in the business. Following on from this they will champion methodology and drive delivery
  • Key roles are innovation managers/head of innovation, customer experience managers and product innovation leaders



  • As demand for specialist talent has increased we have seen real talent shortages across several role types, including data scientists, predictive modellers and data visualisation specialists
  • A frequent struggle for organisations is finding suitable talent, the ideal candidate being technically strong, commercially astute with strong communication skills
  • A large effort is being put into initiatives starting at primary school ages to encourage females into a traditionally male-dominated area


To view the full 2017 Salary Guide, please click here.  


Further press information:

Tara Clancy | Senior Marketing Executive, Sydney

Tel: (02) 89863109 Email: tclancy@morganmckinley.com.au

Alternatively, please contact the Press Office at pr_apac@morganmckinley.com


Notes to editors:

Survey methodology

Morgan McKinley compiled this guide from a sample of professionals we placed in 2016 in Australia. Additionally trends, market intelligence and market sentiment were obtained from a large cross section of employers. This research, combined with the publication of our quarterly APAC employment monitor, has allowed us to predict current and future skills and talent requirements and to obtain benchmarking analysis for professionals seeking new roles and hiring companies alike. Evidence points to a strong employment market in 2017 across a wide range of industries, sectors and locations in both the permanent and contract recruitment market.

About Morgan McKinley

Morgan McKinley is a global professional services recruiter connecting specialist talent with leading employers across multiple industries and disciplines.

With offices across Ireland, the UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia, the company’s professional recruitment expertise spans banking & financial services; commerce & industry and professional services. Morgan McKinley is a preferred supplier to many of the major employers in its specialist sectors and thousands of smaller local firms.

Morgan McKinley APAC provides specialist recruitment services across the APAC region, including Australia, Mainland China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, working with clients and candidates to deliver local knowledge as well as global reach.

Morgan McKinley APAC has been awarded the following:

  • 2016 HR magazine GOLD award 2016: Best Perm Recruitment  
  • 2016 BEST INTERNATIONAL TALENT SEARCH SERVICE PROVIDER in Greater China, HRoot Annual Human Resources Awards
  • BEST INTERNATIONAL RECRUITMENT SERVICE PROVIDER at the 2016 China Recruitment International Asia Awards
  • ACCOUNTANCY RECRUITMENT COMPANY OF THE YEAR in Japan at the 2015 Recruitment International Asia Awards
  • SEEK annual recruitment awards: Winner of Mid-Sized Recruiter of the year, 2015
  • Global Recruiter Asia-Pacific award 2015 for BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN
  • Global Recruiter Asia-Pacific, highly commended 2015 for BEST IN-HOUSE TRAINING
  • INNOVATION LEADER in the China HR Industry, TOP HR awards 2015
  • BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES Recruitment Company of the year in HONG KONG at the 2016 (and also the 2015 and 2014) Recruitment International Asia Awards
  • CANDIDATE CARE PROGRAMME OF THE YEAR at the 2014 Recruitment International Australia awards
  • BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES Recruitment Company of the year in JAPAN at the 2016 and 2014 Recruitment International Asia Awards
  • Global Recruiter Asia-Pacific award 2014 for BEST IN-HOUSE TRAINING
  • Global Recruiter Asia-Pacific, highly commended 2014 for BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN
  • TOP HR award: Best headhunter in China, 2013
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APAC Regional Managing Director


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