Compliance Jobs in the United States
It has become a truth globally acknowledged that businesses in this strict regulatory age must be in want of a strong compliance team. Paraphrasing the works of Jane Austen aside, the demand for professionals with a compliance or regulatory background has not abated in 2017, with those candidates meeting the respective skills criteria able to command generous salaries for compliance jobs in the United States.
Employers have certainly refined their expectations for prospective candidates, with hiring becoming increasingly specific in the search for individuals with niche skills. The focus is particularly on those individuals well-versed in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), cyber security and data analysis, not to mention financial crime experts, especially those bringing experience of law enforcement to the table.
The financial services sector are placing a strong demand on the need for risk and compliance professionals, looking specifically for candidates in possession of specialist skills and experience in areas such as credit control, data analysis, quantitative analysis, consumer protection and accountancy (both recently qualified and well-seasoned).
Certainly among some employers there is more emphasis being placed on senior hires for compliance roles at VP level and beyond, in order to set the right people in place to monitor the systems that had been put in place in response to the financial crisis. Those in senior compliance jobs are expected to prioritise the importance of regulatory change and ensure business operations flow smoothly and correctly from hereon.
That being said, for candidates at both junior and senior level seeking compliance jobs in the US, they need to be aware of the emphasis on regulatory understanding and experience as well as employers’ investment both financially and operationally on terrorist financing; hence the demand for those individuals with a deep knowledge of and expertise surrounding AML and financial crime.
As per the increased need for compliance professionals with cyber security skills, employers are looking for individuals with a deep-seated understanding of technology and its capabilities who will be able to apply themselves to any tech-related task via the notable programmes and compliance software in order to customise the necessary systems. Junior compliance roles in the US demand skills including VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) which relates to Excel and its fellow Office programs in order to automate tasks, as well as SQL (Structured Query Language) designed for managing databases. Candidates applying to junior compliance analyst roles and similar will be expected to utilise these programming languages to customise and create necessary reports for the business.
In terms of where the majority of US compliance jobs are located, there has been a notable cost-cutting trend that has seen firms shift a proportion of their compliance function to lower cost locations. A number of large banks based in the New York metropolitan area, for example, have been reducing their workforce in this area and relocating the positions to area suburbs or other states such as North Carolina, Florida and Utah. In spite of this reported slowdown in recruitment activity in New York, there remains demand in certain areas with mid-size international banks actively seeking candidates experienced in AML and KYC (know-your-customer) compliance, and US sanctions and financial crimes. For the relevantly skilled individuals, firms are willing to match and increase pay to hire and retain talented compliance professionals at junior level and beyond.
Median salaries, as reported by Robert Walters for their annual salary survey, for compliance professionals in the US range between $60-90k for junior and analyst positions and upwards of $70-120k for those with more experience and seniority, reaching between $250-550k for those at the very top of the compliance hierarchy.