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Compliance staff are in demand – companies lure with pay raises, remote work and company equity

The tight labor market and changing regulatory pressures are driving the demand for compliance officers.

Competition for such talent has intensified in recent months as companies fear they will be understaffed at a time of rapid growth and growing regulatory scrutiny, and companies lure compliance staff with pay raises, remote work and equity.

“Everyone is on deck for companies to attract talent,” said Paul C. McDonald, senior executive director of human resources consultancy Robert Half International. “They’re looking to pay as much as they can, and with perks and perks as best they can.”

The average annual unemployment rate for compliance officers nationwide fell to 2.4% in 2021 from 3.5% in 2020, according to the current US Bureau of Labor Statistics demographic survey. That compares to an overall national average unemployment rate of 5.3% for 2021, according to the BLS. The overall rate was 3.9% in December, according to the jobs report published on 7th January.

Meanwhile, annual salary guides for compliance staff offered by Robert Half showed increases for all sectors and levels from 2021 to 2022. Salary data for a chief compliance officer in the top 75th percentile – which means the candidate has above-average experience and possesses skills that are in high demand – is $209,000 for 2022, a 1.5% increase from the previous year. For an entry-level compliance analyst who will need to learn relevant skills, the guides suggested a salary of $66,000, or 0.4% more than in 2021. While Robert Half presented its salary ranges differently in previous years, the Salary guides for chief compliance officers at the 75th percentile increased steadily each year between 2018 and 2020.

The demand for compliance personnel has been growing for some time as industries such as financial services strengthened their compliance departments following the 2008 financial crisis and the enactment of new regulatory regimes like the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

“We saw compliance individuals in high demand before the pandemic. This is not a new phenomenon,” said Robert Half’s McDonald’s. “[Job seekers] I’ve been in the driver’s seat for a while.

But today’s tight labor market and emerging regulatory concerns have only spurred competition for talent.

READ FCA cracks down on marketing of high-risk crypto financial products

Cryptocurrency is an area that has heated up for compliance jobs as the asset class’s growing popularity has led to greater scrutiny from regulators.

Compliance job seekers are looking for growth opportunities with a potential employer and want to believe in the company’s products and its compliance culture, said Will Brown, executive search manager for financial services at Hamlyn Williams, a global recruiter who focuses on regulated industries. He added that job seekers in the field are less likely to compromise on their applications because there are so many job prospects these days.

According to Brown. Other in-demand skills include experience with anti-money laundering investigations and know-your-customer onboarding processes.

Faced with the tight labor market, the crypto exchange Bittrex. lost talented staff to other exchanges, traditional financial institutions entering crypto, and government regulatory agencies recruiting experienced crypto staff, according to Bittrex Chief Compliance Officer Michael Carter. Carter said the company has tripled the size of its compliance program since it began in May 2020.

Bittrex, which must remain compliant with federal mandates as well as licensing requirements in the 46 states in which it operates, has tried to compete by offering its compliance staff solid compensation, Carter said. He has hired juniors starting their careers in compliance as well as people from consulting firms Carter has worked with before. He said the company prioritizes hiring compliance professionals who have a strong understanding of financial crime prevention and reporting, but not necessarily experience with blockchain, and then trains them to better understand the risks. and compliance with respect to cryptography.

Broker-dealer Oppenheimer & Co.’s compliance team experienced turnover last year for the first time since the pandemic began, but was able to replace departing staff, according to Douglas Siegel, the company’s chief compliance officer. ‘business. The company’s compliance workforce has remained stable, he said, adding that some of the departing staff have left for crypto firms.

He said many compliance candidates’ first questions were about work flexibility – including whether they could work from home – and vaccine requirements. The company, which requires its employees and visitors to the office to be fully vaccinated, brought its employees back to the office in October using a hybrid model in which employees work from home on some days and come into the office on others. But with the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, the company has made it voluntary for employees to come into the office.

“That being said, we are also very flexible,” he said. “We also understand that it’s probably changing the way people see work now.” He added that attrition is slowing.

Recruiters expect the fierce competition for talent to continue into 2022, as companies are still unsure what kind of regulations, especially in the crypto space, will be rolled out this year.

The hiring market for compliance professionals is “incredibly active right now where everyone wants to be in it, and everyone wants to move and they can get a really good career progression,” Brown said of Hamlyn Williams. “But it will probably be in the next year or so for it to stabilize.”

Write to Mengqi Sun at

This article was published by Dow Jones Newswires


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