Warren Corston (left), Fabian Ruggieri and Simon Gvalda

There is a 10 to 15 per cent salary premium to hire female financial advisers due to demand from female clients clients seeking advisers who can better relate to them according to an industry recruiter.

RIVA Recruitment director Fabian Ruggieri tells Professional Planner women are becoming more independent and financially savvy, and they tend to want to deal with other women.

“Diversity in organisations is important and there’s demand for female advisers from clients,” Ruggieri says.

That premium applies across all experience levels, Ruggieri continues, and is a result of the struggles of recruiting women into the industry: the Financial Planning Association’s membership base is 70 per cent male while the Association of Financial Advisers’ is 77 per cent.

While salary is an important factor, there are still other considerations employers will have to make to convince women to join.

“They’re highest priority might not be salary,” Ruggieri says. “There are things like culture, work/life balance and flexibility that determines whether someone joins an organisation.”

Retaining top talent

Ruggieri says bonuses, including equity, are now important drivers in keeping talent – whether female or male – on the books at a practice.

Kaizen Recruitment principal consultant Warren Corston says counter-offers have led to salary demands increasing but that’s only part of the package.

“There’s a shortage of advisers that are fully committed to the industry,” Corston says. “As well as salary a firm will offer bonuses or even equity incentives to keep their senior level candidates that are looking after their books.”

Kaizen Recruitment principal recruitment consultant Simon Gvalda believes businesses are keen to keep advisers they have currently because of the time, effort and cost of recruiting a new one.

“There’s definitely been an uptick in the short term/long term incentive schemes across the market, especially the senior end, to maintain and lock people into roles,” Gvalda says.

Corston adds that there’s interest in senior advisers that have at least five years’ experience, especially if they’re  experienced at giving advice to high-net-worth clients or strategic advice including tax planning and SMSFs.

For these advisers, the salary they could demand is within the $160,000-$180,000 range, which is similar to a year ago.

Gvalda says they are still seeing the occasional adviser pushing towards the $200,000 mark, but at this stage those are still outliers.

“It’s definitely pushed up $10,000 in the last six months or so because there has been so much demand, and we’re seeing a lot of counter-offers come through.”

Being fully FASEA compliant – or close to completing all education obligations – is attractive and firms are willing to pay more for advisers who have shown early initiative.

“General education requirements or at least being close to finishing within the next couple of years [is valued],” Corston says. “It’s at the forefront of mind for a few clients, it at least shows a level of commitment to finishing it.”

Working their way up

For mid and low-level advisers, career progression becomes a priority. Professional Year advisers are unlikely to move, Colston says, but if there isn’t progress beyond that they will move once their PY is completed.

Gvalda says if career opportunities aren’t being offered for mid and low-level advisers they will inevitably look outside their current role.

“The biggest piece for most associates is ‘how am I going to get to the next level?’ because they don’t want to be an associate forever, they want to be an adviser.”

Gvalda says client service officer salaries have also risen as the role has become a specialised area rather than just a general administration role.

“Which then bumps up everyone else’s salaries, because when they get pushed you can’t have the next level sitting as the same so it has a flow on effect,” Gvalda says.

Ruggieri says advice businesses are telling him it’s difficult to attract client service candidates.

“It’s almost more difficult to find a client service manager than it is to find an adviser,” Ruggieri says.

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