Despite numerous job indices recording a rosy hiring outlook in 2019, Financial Standard's latest poll shows readership optimism is more subdued.
Half of the financial services firms surveyed plan to decrease headcount this year.
About a third (30%) wants to hire more employees, while the remainder intend to maintain headcount levels.
The latest Hays Jobs Report however paints a different picture, forecasting recruitment activity to pick up for the financial advice sector in the first half of 2019.
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"Advisers will be in high demand during the first half of 2019," the report said. "Demand will naturally be focused on suitably qualified advisers who meet the new requirements. As the pool of such talent shrinks, salary pressure will become evident."
This follows weak hiring activity in the second half of 2018 as a result of the uncertainty around education requirements.
Paraplanners can look forward to salary raises and more opportunities, as companies rush to fill in compliance and remediation roles created as a result of the Royal Commission.
"Another major trend this half will be the continued movement of technically skilled wealth management professionals, such as paraplanners, into lucrative compliance and remediation roles," the Hays report said.
"This candidate movement continues to create skills shortages, which in turn is leading to salary increases for paraplanners and the outsourcing of this function in smaller businesses to third party providers."
More than 60% of executives surveyed in the latest TAS Compliance Index are seeking to employ as many as five additional resources to focus on risk and compliance management in 2019. This marks a 20% jump compared to last year's index.
The findings echo research conducted by SEEK, which found a nearly 50% increase in risk and compliance job ads year on year - most of which come from the banking and finance sector.
Compliance jobs roles have increased by 122% in the last five years, while 208 recorded a dramatic 48% increase, SEEK found.
TAS chief executive Shane Baker said the results are no surprise given the events of the last 18 months in which the Royal Commission dominated headlines and brought into question the sector's pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty.
This week we ask if the credit crunch will deepen at the effect of the financial services Royal Commission's final report.