Are Compliance Officer Salaries Headed Up or Down?

By Robert Half September 23, 2016 at 4:00pm

Compliance officer candidates are in high demand, and with regulations constantly changing or being introduced and companies competing for talent and expertise, it’s likely the trend will continue. Demand is driving compliance officer salaries upward in a variety of industries, from the legal field and healthcare to finance and accounting.

And that trend doesn't show any signs of letting up.

Benchmarks for compliance officer salaries

According to Robert Half's latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance, the projected average starting salary in 2017 for a compliance officer at a small company ranges from $90,750 to $117,500, showing an increase of 4 percent from compliance officer salaries in 2016. It rises to $108,500 to $145,000 at a midsize company and climbs to $120,750 to $161,750 at a large company.

Not only does the Salary Guide have estimates for compliance officer salaries at different-sized companies, but it shows ranges for other job titles, such as compliance director, senior compliance analyst and compliance analyst.

There’s plenty of potential for advancement and promotion with a career in compliance. A chief compliance officer at a small company can expect to earn between $127,500 to $169,250 in 2017. The range for chief compliance officers at midsize companies will be $155,250 to $213,750, and $186,000 to $261,000 at large companies, a 3.9 percent increase from 2016.

Duties and expectations

A compliance officer is expected to ensure a company’s processes follow internal policies and government regulations, the latter of which are constantly changing and evolving. Other duties often include assessing financial risk and coming up with preventative measures or solutions to handle potential issues. Compliance officers also provide regular reports on the effectiveness of these measures and advise company executives on any action or changes that should be implemented.

Professional experience and skills

Education requirements may vary, though typically a compliance officer is expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or a similar field. Obtaining a master’s degree may also help those wishing to progress into a chief compliance officer position. Additionally, compliance officers are often required to maintain certification and regular retraining in the sector in which they work.

Compliance officers should have strong leadership and communications skills, including superb analytical abilities, as they are frequently expected to assess their organizations’ processes. Perhaps most importantly, compliance officers should be highly ethical, as they help their companies prepare to meet the growing burden of regulatory compliance.

Now that you know more about compliance officer salaries, duties and expectations, why wait? Start your job search for compliance officers now.

Editor's note: This post was has been updated recently to reflect new Salary Guide data.

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