27 June 2018 at 10:46 BST

Compliance pays better and brings job satisfaction

Compliance officer compensation 2018 report reveals higher compensation and job satisfaction, especially for those with law degrees.

Fred Krebs analysed the rapidly changing role of general counsel. docstockmedia

As c-suite and board members recognise the importance of an independent compliance function, separate from the legal department, a new BarkerGilmore report throws light on trends in the evolving chief compliance officer role. The BarkerGilmore 2018 Compliance Compensation Report highlights trends and benchmark data, revealing six key trends in 2018. Firstly, annual salaries have increased. The median annual salary for all positions across industries has increased 4.2 per cent, with the industrial and manufacturing sector experiencing the highest median increase rate of 7.1 per cent from 2016 to 2017. The technology and healthcare and life sciences sectors experienced the lowest increase rates at 3.2 per cent and 3.3 per cent, respectively. In terms of peer comparison, 45 per cent of all respondents believe their compensation is average and comparable to their peers at other organisations.


One in four feel their compensation is above or significantly above average, while 27 per cent believe they are underpaid. Compliance officers in the industrial and manufacturing industry express the highest levels of satisfaction, with 43 per cent reporting compensation above or significantly above average. Those in the consumer and financial industries express the greatest dissatisfaction, with over 35 per cent reporting compensation below or significantly below average.

Law degrees help

Only 34 per cent of respondents indicate that they will consider a new position within the next year due to compensation issues, with consumer industry respondents reporting the greatest likelihood of a job search in the next year, while industrial and manufacturing industry are least likely. In terms of gender, on average female compliance professionals earn 72 per cent of their male counterparts earnings. The gap is largest at the chief compliance officer level, where females earn only 65 per cent of the total compensation that their male counterparts earn.

Position level

The disparity decreases as position level decreases. Across all position levels, compliance officers who hold law degrees earn significantly more than those without law degrees. At all position levels, differences exists between the compensation of those at publicly-traded companies and those at private companies. The size of the gap between public and private organization compliance officers is especially noticeable for chief compliance officers and other high-level managing compliance officers due to the long-term incentive (LTI) compensation component. The 2018 Compliance Compensation Report can be accessed here.


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