5 Reasons to Start Your Career in Compliance



Once the unsung heroes of businesses across industries, compliance professionals are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Their dedication to empowering an organisation to function legally and ethically while meeting its business goals has earnt them respect amid an increasingly robust regulatory environment: once viewed as a box-ticking exercise that was a barrier to business, regulatory compliance is now the first line of defence against rule violations and subsequent fines, stoppages, and reputational damage.

No longer marginalised by their contemporaries, the compliance professional has become indispensable to the successful and safe running of a business. National Compliance Officer Day is a testament to this: celebrated on 26th September each year to honour the sterling work of these compliance champions. 

Here are five reasons to join this noble profession and start your career in compliance.

You will make a difference

Compliance Managers and Officers aren’t focused on generating profit and growth. Instead, they clear a path for the business to meet its goals by ensuring its activities and policies comply with internal and external regulations and ethical protocols. 

As a compliance professional, your passion for respecting the rules will have a positive impact on the business, its people, and its customers – from protecting an individual from fraud to shielding the business from regulatory action and reputational damage. 

Your knowledge, understanding, and application of regulatory compliance will make you a vital layer in the fight against threats like fraud, money laundering, corruption, and cyber-attacks.

Job opportunities

Emerging risks and unforeseen events – from cybercrime to the pandemic – have prompted a raft of new regulations across industries this century. Take financial services for example: as the sector emerged from the 2008 global financial crisis, governments and regulatory authorities were forced to implement new or stricter requirements amid an avalanche of risks.

This industrywide tightening of the regulatory screw is driving demand for compliance professionals throughout the jobs market. In the US, for example, the annual average unemployment rate for compliance officers nationwide dropped to 2.4% in 2021 from 3.5% in 2020 – that compares with an overall national average unemployment rate of 5.3% for 2021.

Structured career path

The evolution of the Compliance Officer from a bolt-on middle-management position to an essential full-time role underscores the career opportunities on offer within this expanding space. No longer considered a burden to business operations, regulatory compliance has been transformed into an industry in its own right – creating an enticing role structure across all levels of responsibility. From graduate trainee programmes with compliance in their schedule to Chief Compliance Officers, there’s a clear career path within the industry that will match your competency and ambition. 

Transferable skills

When you’re not monitoring the dynamic regulatory environment, you will be managing multiple stakeholders as a compliance professional. The key skills and attributes required to carry out your role successfully are easily transferable as your career progresses. If you decide to step off the compliance career path, you will do so armed with the soft skills that employers value highly – from critical thinking and problem-solving skills to communication and adaptability skills. 

Earning potential

The value placed on compliance against a backdrop of increasingly stringent regulatory control is reflected in the salaries on offer:

  • Compliance Officer starting salaries range from £20,000 to £35,000
  • Compliance Manager salaries range from £30,000 and £75,000
  • Senior Compliance Managers can earn more than £100,000
  • Day rates for compliance contractors range from £400 to £600 per day

The industry you work in often influences how much you get paid – for instance, Compliance Officers working in financial services are typically better paid than those in charities.


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