When you need to hire a compliance professional, one of the first lines of your job posting is likely to say, “At least five years of experience required.” It might even insist applicants have a work history in your specific industry.
Jin Bacheller, division director for Robert Half Financial Services in Chicago, sees it all the time. “Companies want someone who can hit the ground running,” he says.
“If you’re in financial services, you want someone with a financial services background,” adds Ryan Glowczewski, division director for Robert Half in St. Louis. “Compliance roles are very industry-specific, and top candidates are in heavy demand.”
With competition over experienced compliance officers on the rise — and a shrinking number of top candidates looking for new jobs — managers may find they need to rethink hiring strategies and compensation. Read on for recruitment tips and salary benchmarks in three job markets where the need for compliance officers is high.
Recruiting passive candidates in St. Louis
Supply and demand is a challenge across the country. “In St. Louis, we often have to recruit passive candidates to find experienced compliance officers,” says Glowczewski.
Of course, that’s a strategy that requires an extensive professional network to draw on, and a considerable amount of time for the outreach. Glowczewski has a more helpful suggestion for managers: Maintain realistic expectations throughout the hiring process.
“For many, an ideal applicant already has accounting certifications, like the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). But it takes time to earn those, and many otherwise strong candidates don’t yet have them,” he says.
“Certifications can be earned while on the job,” he adds. “Managers should consider paying for professional training for newly hired compliance officers. Companies that sponsor professional development for their workers know that the employee and company are both getting exactly what they need.”
To compete for top candidates in financial services, be prepared to pay at least the midpoint compliance officer salary, which is $124,000 in St. Louis. Highly experienced candidates who already have CIA, CISA or other designations might expect more.
Looking to hire? Download the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals to benchmark salaries in your area.
Competition for candidates in Minneapolis
“Competition here is intense, especially for candidates well-versed in financial laws and regulations, banking products and service lines, and working with auditors and regulators,” says Douglas L. Rickart, vice president of Robert Half Financial Services in Minneapolis.
To get ahead of the competition, Rickart suggests employers accelerate their hiring process. “In many cases, hiring managers want candidates to come back for multiple interviews with other employees,” he says. “But you risk losing top applicants to the competition if you take too long to make a decision.”
In Minneapolis, experienced compliance officers will expect a midpoint salary of close to $132,000 in financial services, according to the Salary Guide.
“Candidates with professional certifications may demand higher salaries,” Rickart adds. The most in-demand designations here are the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional Program (CCEP) and Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCP).
Hard to find compliance officers to hire in Chicago
“The compliance roles we typically have available here can be quite diverse, covering traditional banking, startups, real estate and private equity,” Bacheller says. But it’s hard to find the right people here to staff those roles.
Bacheller urges companies to offer competitive compensation to help recruitment efforts. For a compliance officer in a corporate setting, the midpoint salary in Chicago is $126,750. Candidates with extensive experience and certifications, such as Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) and Chief Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM), may earn more.
Getting the pay scale right is the first step. The next challenge is finding available compliance professionals. “Most of the top candidates we find are passive job seekers,” Bacheller says. “Employers can scour LinkedIn to find individual candidates who might be willing to move from their current companies, but that involves a lot of time and legwork.” And this rarely succeeds for employers who try to do it without the help of a recruiter.
According to Bacheller, the most effective strategy is to contact a specialized staffing firm. Working with an outside recruiter lets you sidestep many hiring headaches. In most cases, just tell them what you’re looking for in a compliance officer (or any other position you need to staff). They’ll dive into their deep network of active and passive job seekers and come back with highly skilled candidates in your area — then you’re ready to start interviewing.
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This post has been updated to reflect more current information.