How much should you be paying your compliance officers?

September 7, 2019

How much should you be paying your compliance officers?

Whether it’s Financial Services, life sciences, manufacturing or retail, or whether you work in sales, finance or HR, salaries are a potentially sensitive topic in almost any organisation in any sector. Individuals rightly get annoyed if they learn that colleagues are being paid more than them and organisations can even more rightly, attract trouble if they are found guilty of a gender pay gap.

That’s why the recent ‘2019 Compliance Compensation Report’ from executive search firm BarkerGilmore makes for such interesting reading for anyone working in compliance and the broader Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) function. Of the more than 800 individuals that took part in the research, 53% were chief compliance officers and 33% were managing compliance officers, so it was a senior compliance sample base.

Yet the findings made for worrying reading for anyone with a vested interest in compliance. The median annual salary increase rate for all positions across industries was 4.1%, down 0.1% from the previous year. With the increase in salaries for compliance officers slowing, it raises a number of interesting questions about payrates for compliance officers and the valued assigned to the compliance and GRC functions overall.

The growing value of the compliance function

A few decades ago, compliance used to be perceived mostly as a box-ticking function. It was low-profile and not seen as hugely integral to the business. In 2019 however, the compliance function – whether a standalone department or part of a wider GRC team – is among the most business-critical departments in any organisation.

The fines for non-compliance on certain regulation can be huge and the reputational damage suffered by firms can be equally impactful. This is why so many organisations are investing in GRC tools and compliance software to ensure they remain compliant. To be compliant and well-governed is highly desirable in modern business. The value of compliance is not disputed in 2019 and nor should it be.

Compliance officers’ salaries in 2019

Yet despite the widespread importance assigned to the compliance function, it would seem that some companies and industries are reluctant to truly reflect the importance of compliance to the business in the salaries of their compliance officers.

The BarkerGilmore research revealed that chief compliance officers in the healthcare and life-sciences industry are the highest paid, followed by those in industrial and manufacturing and then the consumer industry. But with the rate of salary increases slowing across sectors, this jars with the growing importance of compliance.

The research suggested that 40% respondents (a 4% increase from the previous year) said they would consider a new position within the next year due to compensation issues. Organisations need to be mindful of this – compliance officers are as essential to the smooth running of a GRC department as the right IT GRC software is.

Mid-sized businesses shouldn’t be priced out of compliance

But what if you’re a smaller firm that’s keen to be compliant? Do you have to pay the same salaries to compliance officers in larger organisations and do you have to make the same levels of investment in your GRC software? Not necessarily. It is possible to hire good compliance officers on a good salary without paying the same figures as bigger firms.

People have many reasons to work for a company. Salary is one of them of course, but people increasingly look to other issues such as work / life balance, flexible working, job satisfaction, collaboration and even the reputation of the organisation involved.

It’s also true that mid-sized firms do not have to spend a fortune on a GRC tool to support their compliance officers. There are so many GRC software vendors that it can be hard to select the right one for you. We recently published a guide to help organisations choose the right GRC solution but it all really boils down to choosing one with the right approach for your needs, along with the right price point.

The Oxial GRC software solution

This is where Oxial is so strong. With our sGRC solutions it means organisations irrespective of size can remain compliant with regulation all over the world.We have made available oursGRC Express and sGRC Suite solutions, which combine technology and innovation with knowledge, governance and processes, culture and capabilities to deliver a ground-breaking GRC software solution.

As well as being powerful tools for mitigating risk and ensuring compliance, the Oxial sGRC solutions are also affordable, meaning that mid-sized organisations can benefit from the same features and functionality as bigger firms that have chosen a more expensive GRC tool.

Compliance is a worthy investment, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. The right candidate and GRC tools are out there and all it requires is a little due diligence during the selection process and you can find the right compliance officer and support them with the GRC software they need to get the job done.

For more details on Oxial’s GRC solutions, please get in touch with us here.