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Banking and General Financial Services

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Banking and General Financial Services sector, which is one component of the Financial Services industry, and includes banking services, financial intermediary services and workers in a diverse range of financial roles.

The Banking and General Financial Services sector is integral to the whole Australian economy, covering services such as general banking, home and business loans and a range of financial products.

Vocational education and training qualifications most often lead to frontline services roles such as bank workers and tellers.

Nationally recognised training for Banking and General Financial Services is delivered under the FNS – Financial Services Training Package.

For information on other financial services, see the Financial Services cluster page.

For information on business-related services, see the Business Services cluster page.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Workers in the Banking and General Financial Services sector are involved in a range of industries; presented here are those most core to the sector. The Finance industry reported variable levels of employment between 2001 and 2021, peaking in 2013 at 222,000. In 2021, there were 206,700 workers in the industry, which is projected to decrease to 191,000 by 2025. The largest VET-related proportion of the Finance industry is the occupation of Bank Workers (24%). This occupation has a projected employment decline of 3% between 2021 and 2025. The other VET-related finance occupations have positive projected employment growth to 2025. Accountants has the largest projected growth at 19%.

The Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services industry has also shown a record of variable employment. In 2021, employment was at its highest level in the time period shown, with 147,700 workers, which is projected to increase to 177,600 by 2025. Financial Investment Advisers and Managers represent the largest proportion of VET-related occupations in the Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services industry at 17%, followed by Financial Brokers with 15%. All identified occupations in the Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services industry have positive projected employment growth to 2025. General Clerks has a projected employment increase of 13% between 2021 and 2025, Finance Managers is projected to increase by 5%, Financial Investment Advisers and Managers by 4% and Financial Brokers by 3%.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Banking and General Financial Services-related qualifications have fallen between 2016 and 2020. Enrolments peaked at approximately 17,150 in 2016 and there were around 9,450 in 2020. Program completions were fairly stable between 2016 and 2017 but have since fallen each year. Completions peaked at approximately 7,940 in 2017 and there were around 5,570 in 2020. The largest number of program enrolments in 2020 was at the certificate I level, followed by the certificate III and diploma or higher levels. The majority of enrolments in 2020 were in the area of financial services and practice support. Most students in this sector had the intended occupation of Financial and Insurance Clerks.

In 2020, Banking and General Financial Services-related qualifications were delivered by a range of training providers. The largest proportion was delivered by private training providers at 60%, with TAFE institutes delivering 16% and enterprise providers 15%. The majority of Banking and General Financial Services-related subjects were funded through domestic fee for service (68%), though the funding proportions varied largely between provider types. Queensland and New South Wales and had the highest proportion of students enrolled in Banking and General Financial Services-related qualifications at 34% and 24% respectively.

More than three quarters of all training was delivered in Queensland (44%) and New South Wales (34%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements and completions in the Banking and General Financial Services sector fell overall between 2011 and 2020, with a small rise in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Most apprentices and trainees had the intended occupation of Financial and Insurance Clerks. In 2020, Queensland reported the largest proportion of Banking and General Financial Services apprentices and trainees, with 36%, followed by New South Wales with 32%, and Victoria with 15%.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER's Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Financial Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast suggests the top priority skills for the Banking and General Financial Services sector include health and safety skills, teamwork and communication, and problem solving skills. This is in addition to sector specific technical and multi-disciplinary skills. The top three generic skills focus primarily on soft skills including customer service, critical thinking, and learning agility. Data analysis is rated as the fourth most important generic skill for the sector.

According to the job vacancy data, the top generic skills requested by employers were communication skills and building effective relationships. The most advertised occupations were Information Officers followed by Bank Workers. The top employers were Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation. The top locations for job advertisements were New South Wales and Victoria.

According to the above Skills Forecast, as with many sectors across the economy, emerging technologies are significant in shaping the future of the Banking and General Financial Services sector. FinTech innovations are changing the services provided by the sector, as well as leading to the automation of many process-oriented roles and enabling more financial services in the gig and shared economies.

Many technological advancements in the Banking and General Financial Services sector are aimed at giving the consumer more knowledge and control of transactions and services, and the ability to conduct services for themselves. These technologies include:

  • Internet and mobile banking, allowing customers to manage their funds without going to a branch, with the majority of Australians now making a purchase or banking transaction on their mobile.
  • Peer-to-peer lending, as a method of debt financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend money without an official institution.

According to the Skills Forecast, workers in the Banking and General Financial Services sector will need the following skills:

  • Core financial multi-disciplinary skills, which are the financial literacy, capacity and industry knowledge skills that underpin all roles in the Financial Services industry.
  • Enterprise skills, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and work health and safety skills that are about 'how' a worker operates in the workplace.
  • Flexibility and resilience skills, which will continue to be extremely important for workers adapting to technological change.
  • Communication and other skills where humans generally have a competitive advantage over machines.

In a world where technology is rapidly changing the banking experience, making it more convenient, more mobile and more transparent than ever before, strong, ethical banks remain critical to customer trust and confidence.

The 2021 Starling report, Culture and Conduct Risk in the Banking Sector: Why It Matters and What Regulators Are Doing to Address It, highlights that sustainable performance requires resilience and shared purpose around competence, reliability, responsiveness, accountability, openness, respect and honesty. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for the sector.

The objective of the Australian Financial Markets Association’s Framework for Industry Conduct Training is to assist participants in Australia's wholesale banking and financial markets to enhance the professionalism of staff through designing and implementing effective conduct employee training programs. Conduct training is training in ethics and compliance-related topics that is designed to minimise the risk for an organisation of becoming involved in practices that contravene laws, industry standards and organisational values. Hence, the purpose of conduct training is to influence and guide the behaviour of staff.

Committed to building a workplace that is as diverse as it is dynamic, the National Australia Bank (NAB) partnered with DXC Technology to establish the Neurodiversity at NAB program. NAB believes that to achieve true competitive advantage in the technical world, it is essential to have a diversity of thinking and culture within its teams. The intent of the program was to embed diversity and inclusion into the culture and fabric of the bank through the employment of people on the autism spectrum. Based on the DXC Dandelion Program, the Neurodiversity at NAB program provides a holistic employment experience that offers benefits to both the participating individuals and the private sector. It provides an opportunity for businesses to address IT talent shortages by harnessing the unique skill sets that often come with autism. These skills include an extraordinary capacity for visual thinking and comfort with routine and systematically oriented activities. Other typical traits are honesty, as well as the ability to pay close attention to detail and identify errors. For individuals on the autism spectrum, the program provides an opportunity to develop technical and social skills to obtain long-term, meaningful employment in the technology field.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) Reconciliation Action Plan includes a commitment to achieving parity for Indigenous representation in their workforce. Training and employment pathways are critical to accomplishing this goal. In their 2020 Annual Report, CommBank reported that to that end, they have sponsored several traineeship programs and launched an Indigenous Training Academy to encourage the take-up of careers in technology. More than 30 trainees and interns have now graduated from the Academy and many are pursuing their careers with CommBank in areas such as engineering, end user experience and cyber security. CommBank is committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in their domestic workforce to 3% by 2026.

The National Skills Commission’s Skills Priority List: June 2021, lists the occupation of Finance Manager as having ‘Strong’ future demand and Bank Worker as having ‘Moderate’ future demand. Research has not identified any significant difficulty filling vacancies for these occupations across Australia, except in New South Wales and the Northern Territory where there is a current shortage of Bank Workers.

COVID-19 impact

In July 2020, Westpac announced it is moving 1,000 jobs that are being carried out in India and the Philippines back to Australia after complications in overseas operations led to slow customer service and cost the lender valuable business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Westpac plans to fill some of the roles by re-deploying existing staff, but also plans to hire new workers to fill the positions over the next year as its obligations to overseas providers are worked through. The announcement is a further step in transforming Westpac's business and mortgage operations, helping to support local employment, reducing the risk of offshore disruption, and accelerating its ability to simplify processes through digitisation. The COVID-19 pandemic caused tens of thousands of bank employees to work from home, and these changes in work patterns, and investments in technology, meant it was possible to return the roles to Australia.

The Business Insider article about the Westpac announcement highlights that call centres became the front line of communication between customers and banks during the onset of the pandemic and were inundated with requests for payments holidays. Bank call centres globally flooded with inquiries from concerned customers about deferring payments on mortgages, credit cards and business loans. Call centres also became lifelines for high-risk and quarantined consumers who did not have an option to go into the branches that remained open. This overwhelming volume led to substantial wait times for many consumers.

Westpac's move indicates that call centres will remain paramount to customer service for the foreseeable future. The move also highlights the disconnect in customer service options between what customers want and what banks are offering on their digital platforms. Continued high call centre volume suggests that a significant number of customers are not relying on digital channels for support. And many have indicated they prefer human expertise when it comes to financial dealings, particularly during a time of crisis.

In October 2020, the National Australia Bank (NAB) announced it will recruit 500 additional business banking support roles to cope with the influx of financial assistance requested by customers impacted by the economic downturn. NAB has already added an additional 52 roles to its private banking arm and another 400 roles dedicated to customer support. More than 37,000 NAB business customers have deferred loan repayments, with the bank also supporting 6,235 loans through the federal government small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) guarantee scheme.

To meet the surge in demand for phone and online banking, CommBank reskilled support and frontline employees and added new temporary recruits from the aviation industry to help in their customer contact centres, according to their 2020 Annual Report. To help customers experiencing financial stress due to COVID-19, the Financial Assistance Solutions team more than doubled to approximately 1,500 frontline staff.

Despite the once-in-100-year challenges of dealing with a global pandemic, the Australian fintech sector is sustaining its revenue base, with more paying customers and plans for future global expansion, according to the EY FinTech Australia Census 2020. Fintechs say this moment of crisis is driving a step-change in consumer digital adoption and has adapted quickly to grasp new opportunities. This has resulted in a significant increase in consumer digital payments and transactions and the rise of the ‘buy now pay later’ sector, which has expanded at pace. This year has also seen a growth in challenger banks. These are healthy signs in an environment of extreme disruption and uncertainty, suggesting fintechs will survive this crisis and, with appropriate support, emerge invigorated. However, the sector continues to face its usual headwinds of regulatory concerns and competitive pressure. And, now in a post-pandemic world, fintechs must also contend with the added difficulties emerging from the crisis – issues such as tightening capital and the concern that consumers will return to the ‘safety’ of major institutions for their financial services needs. There is also widespread concern that large financial institutions have pivoted to focus on their customers, redeploying staff away from innovation, slowing the momentum of fintech initiatives. Before the global pandemic hit, there was a genuine feeling that, at last, financial services innovation collaboration had reached a ‘tipping point’.

The pandemic has added to the urgency of increased collaboration between employer organisations, industry and government to deliver more targeted and flexible skills development programs. The wider corporate Australia has a shared accountability to help provide people with the tools needed to upskill and reskill in line with emerging skills demand. To help fill the gap between talent supply and demand in Australia, Skill Finder, the government-funded national skills marketplace led by Adobe, has joined forces with the Commonwealth Bank to help provide more Australians with access to a wide range of free digital courses. As part of the collaboration, the free micro-skills marketplace will be incorporated into the Commonwealth Bank's digital feature ‘Benefits finder’ and ‘Benefits finder for Business’ via the CommBank app. Customers who use the features to claim government benefits and rebates will now also be guided to explore more than 2,000 free digital courses, available on Skill Finder, to obtain transferable micro-skills that may help them get back into the job market or upskill and reskill into new roles and growth sectors.

In their 2020 Annual Report the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) reported that during March they began to experience a dramatic increase in calls to their dedicated hardship team in Australia – receiving around four years-worth of hardship applications in the space of only three months as almost 94,000 customers impacted by COVID-19 sought assistance. In response, ANZ developed COVID-19 ‘Talent Mobility Principles’, the purpose of which was to ensure they had ‘the right people, in the right locations, at the right time’, to meet customer and community needs during the pandemic. A campaign was run across Australia, New Zealand and India to help employees self-identify their skills and desire to move into critical areas of the business, such as the Customer Contact Centre. Over 1,000 hours of customised virtual training was delivered to over 700 staff across the Customer Service Operations team and branches to assist them to move temporarily to in-demand roles. ANZ also recruited approximately 185 new hardship consultants and provided over 23,000 hours of training to their Customer Connect (Hardship) team to ensure ongoing support for their customers on a COVID-19 assistance package. To help ANZ leaders support their teams through COVID-19, additional guidance was provided aligned to two of the desired leadership behaviours (referred to as ‘New Ways of Leading’), ‘Creating Shared Clarity’ and ‘Empowering People’. ANZ wants their people leaders to display these behaviours in order to inspire and engage their teams, helping them to deliver on the bank’s strategic imperatives. ANZ introduced a ‘Leading Through Change’ program for 7,500 people leaders in July, to help them lead with confidence and optimism during this period of ongoing and accelerated change. On completion, leaders are provided with new tools to support themselves and their teams to improve focus, adapt faster and be more productive.

ANZ are continuing to develop priority capabilities aligned with their strategy and aimed at ‘future-proofing’ their workforce – data and engineering are two key capabilities of focus. ANZ recruited more than 500 software and systems engineers over the course of the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has had little effect on supply of this capability in the market and critical engineering talent remains scarce. In response, ANZ are investing in innovative recruitment strategies and have a dedicated team working on talent marketing, proactive sourcing and continuous improvement of the recruitment approach. ANZ have continued to invest in the capabilities of their people through the provision of training and development programs. Almost 970,000 hours of learning were delivered in 2020, including over 530,000 hours of compliance training. Our Way of Learning (OWL), ANZ’s digital social learning platform, enabled employees to access learning materials relevant to their current roles and future career aspirations while working from home. The ability to access digital content anywhere, anytime and on any device led to a 29% increase in self-directed content access across the bank.

The Westpac Group's 2020 Annual Report also highlighted extensive workforce development undertaken during the pandemic. Westpac provided a range of structured and self-paced learning experiences, including virtual coaching support to help bankers have great customer conversations and deepen relationships. Westpac also partnered with leading universities to offer employees a range of micro-credentials in disciplines such as risk, lending and service. Over 2,000 leaders completed training in the early intervention and prevention of mental ill-health, and the importance of supportive leadership. The Board attended a training workshop led by industry experts to discuss climate change risks, investor expectations and directors' duties.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Banking and general financial services IRC

 

Relevant research

2020 Annual Report: Adapt Engage Prepare Protect – Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

2020 Annual Report: Fix Simplify Perform – Westpac Group

2020 Annual Report: We Can. Together. – Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Australian Banking and the Recovery: 5 Strategic Priorities for Banks – Boston Consulting Group

Banking Code of Practice: Setting the Standards of Practice for Banks, Their Staff and Their Representatives – Australian Banking Association

Culture and Conduct Risk in the Banking Sector: Why It Matters and What Regulators Are Doing to Address It – Starling

EY FinTech Australia Census 2020: Profiling and Defining the Fintech Sector – FinTech Australia and EY Australia

Framework for Industry Conduct Training – Australian Financial Markets Association

National Australia Bank to Add 500 Jobs Amid Influx of Hardship Claims – News.com.au

Neurodiversity Program Develops Unique Skills and Talents for National Australia Bank – DXC Technology

Reconciliation Action Plan – Commonwealth Bank of Australia

'Response Rates Have Been Too Slow': Westpac Brings Call Centre Jobs Back to Australia – The Sydney Morning Herald

Skill Finder and Commonwealth Bank Address Australia's Growing Skills Gap – IT Brief Australia

Skills Priority List: June 2021 – National Skills Commission

Westpac is Redeploying 1,000 Overseas Call Center Jobs Back to Australia – Business Insider

Where Next For Financial Services?: How Australian Financial Services Can Reboot, and Help Reboot Australia – PwC

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)

Australian Banking Association (ABA)

Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA)

Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA)

Financial Services Council (FSC)

Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA)

 

Government bodies

Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA)

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

 

Employee associations

Finance Sector Union (FSU)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 & 3 digit Finance Industry and Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services Industry, employment projections to May 2025
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • Accountants
    • Bank Workers
    • Credit and Loans Officers
    • Finance Managers
    • Financial Brokers
    • Financial Dealers
    • Financial Investment Advisers and Managers
    • General Clerks
    • Other Hospitality, Retail and Service Managers.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 August 2021 https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021/EQ08.xlsx

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 & 3 digit Finance Industry and Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services Industry, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 & 3 digit Finance Industry and Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

 

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • FNS and FNB Financial Services Training Packages
  • Banking Services and Management
    • FNS41010 - Certificate IV in Banking Services
    • FNS41011 - Certificate IV in Banking Services
    • FNS42015 - Certificate IV in Banking Services
    • FNS42020 - Certificate IV in Banking Services
    • FNS41211 - Certificate IV in Mobile Banking
    • FNS50910 - Diploma of Banking Services Management
    • FNS50915 - Diploma of Banking Services Management
    • FNS50920 - Diploma of Banking Services Management
    • FNS51204 - Diploma of Financial Services (Banking)
    • FNS60610 - Advanced Diploma of Banking Services Management
    • FNS60615 - Advanced Diploma of Banking Services Management
    • FNS60620 - Advanced Diploma of Banking Services Management.
  • Conveyancing
    • FNS50410 - Diploma of Conveyancing
    • FNS50411 - Diploma of Conveyancing
    • FNS50604 - Diploma of Financial Services (Conveyancing)
    • FNS60310 - Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing
    • FNS60311 - Advanced Diploma of Conveyancing
    • FNS60304 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Conveyancing).
  • Credit Management
    • FNS40110 - Certificate IV in Credit Management
    • FNS40111 - Certificate IV in Credit Management
    • FNS40115 - Certificate IV in Credit Management
    • FNS40120 - Certificate IV in Credit Management
    • FNS51511 - Diploma of Credit Management
    • FNS51515 - Diploma of Credit Management
    • FNS51520 - Diploma of Credit Management.
  • Financial Services and Practice Support
    • FNS10110 - Certificate I in Financial Services
    • FNS10115 - Certificate I in Financial Services
    • FNS10120 - Certificate I in Basic Financial Literacy
    • FNS20104 - Certificate II in Financial Services
    • FNS20110 - Certificate II in Financial Services
    • FNS20111 - Certificate II in Financial Services
    • FNS20115 - Certificate II in Financial Services
    • FNS20120 - Certificate II in Financial Services
    • FNS30104 - Certificate III in Financial Services
    • FNS30107 - Certificate III in Financial Services
    • FNS30110 - Certificate III in Financial Services
    • FNS30111 - Certificate III in Financial Services
    • FNS30115 - Certificate III in Financial Services
    • FNS30120 - Certificate III in Financial Services
    • FNS40710 - Certificate IV in Financial Practice Support
    • FNS40715 - Certificate IV in Financial Practice Support
    • FNB40199 - Certificate IV in Financial Services
    • FNS40107 - Certificate IV in Financial Services
    • FNS41811 - Certificate IV in Financial Services
    • FNS41815 - Certificate IV in Financial Services
    • FNS41820 - Certificate IV in Financial Services
    • FNB50199 - Diploma of Financial Services
    • FNS50104 - Diploma of Financial Services
    • FNS50107 - Diploma of Financial Services
    • FNS51811 - Diploma of Financial Services
    • FNS51815 - Diploma of Financial Services
    • FNS51820 - Diploma of Financial Services
    • FNS50417 - Diploma of Payroll Services
    • FNS60104 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Services.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 program completions.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

FNS and FNB Financial Services Training Packages apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • 62 Finance
    • 641 Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services.
  • Employers
    • 5412 Information Officers
    • 2211 Accountants
    • 5521 Bank Workers
    • 2247 Management and Organisation Analysts
    • 1112 General Managers
    • 62 Finance
    • 641 Auxiliary Finance and Investment Services.
Updated: 25 Oct 2021
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