7 compliance careers (with salaries and primary duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

People who work in compliance ensure that an organisation follows all regulations, ethics and codes of conduct. These careers span a variety of sectors and involve a number of different duties and responsibilities. When looking to begin a career in compliance, it helps to make yourself aware of the different pathways available to you. In this article, we explain what compliance careers are, provide a selection of different careers you might undertake in compliance with their average salaries and primary duties and detail some of the key skills for those working in compliance.

What is compliance and what are compliance careers?

Being compliant means following and adhering to rules or guidelines, so compliance careers revolve around upholding these requirements. These rules and laws are put in place by the government or industry bodies. An organisation that remains compliant in its practice avoids legal issues and prosecution. It also helps improve the organisation's reputation as a whole and maintains strong employee relations.

Those who work in the compliance industry exercise a knowledge of laws and regulatory practices to ensure the organisation they work for remains compliant. To anticipate any potential issues, they identify risks to compliance or incidents of possible malpractice within an organisation. They also work to implement policies and provide advice and guidelines to help an organisation improve their compliance practices.

Related: A guide to compliance officer skills for CVs (with duties)

7 compliance careers

Here are some careers in compliance to consider, with information on their national average salaries and primary duties:

1. Audit associate

National average salary: £27,159 per year

Primary duties: An audit associate works in-house as an auditing specialist for a business or organisation. Within their role, they complete financial audits to ensure all records represent the company compliantly and accurately. They also look to prepare budgets for a company and organise all financial statements. An audit associate maintains attention to detail at all times to ensure their business is following all compliance laws. Audit associates are responsible for drafting financial statements and verifying all of the financial information pertaining to the employing company.

Related: 8 important compliance certifications for various industries

2. Food safety officer

National average salary: £29,134 per year

Primary duties: A food safety officer ensures that establishments that serve or produce food follow the appropriate codes of conduct. This level of compliance ensures that the general public doesn't face illness from poor health and safety practices. This role includes carrying out assessments on businesses to ensure they prepare all food safely and correctly, in addition to making sure it's distributed safely. Food safety officers have an in-depth knowledge of food preparation safety. They also investigate any food safety violations and promote public food initiatives such as healthy eating.

3. Fraud investigator

National average salary: £30,663 per year

Primary duties: A fraud investigator works on behalf of the government to ensure that all companies and businesses follow appropriate financial regulations. They also sometimes work for local authorities such as councils. This role involves carrying out regular assessments of organisations, identifying and addressing instances of fraud and conducting detailed analyses of company practices. Fraud investigators interrogate those associated with a potential cause of fraud and gather evidence to back up suspicions of fraudulent activity.

4. Compliance officer

National average salary: £33,040 per year

Primary duties: A compliance officer works for non-government organisations to ensure that businesses are fully compliant and law-abiding. They also have the responsibility to ensure that organisations follow internal rules within industry standards. In some cases, they may provide guidance or strategies to improve compliance within the workplace. Compliance officers ensure that all actions undertaken by a company are not only legal but also ethical.

5. Environmental compliance specialist

National average salary: £35,406 per year

Primary duties: An environmental compliance specialist works to ensure that companies and organisations adhere to all laws related to the environment. For example, this includes all laws around land, energy, gas or water quality. Environmental compliance specialists regularly perform environmental audits and implement strategies and actions where there's been a breach of regulations. Environmental compliance specialists also work with companies to give advice on how their practices can be more environmentally friendly and compliant with regulated laws.

6. Human resources manager

National average salary: £40,953 per year

Primary duties: A human resources manager is responsible for managing and coordinating a business's human resources department. They may work alone or as one of many managers within a larger company or organisation. The duties of a human resources manager include ensuring that a company's compliant and fair in its practices towards employees. They also make sure the business operates within government law, and that employee relationships run without conflict. They develop internal procedures and handle all issues relating to employees, including contracts.

Related: What is a compliance audit and when is one needed?

7. Cybersecurity analyst

National average salary: £48,487 per year

Primary duties: A cybersecurity analyst works to protect a business's hardware and computer systems from potential cyberattacks or hacking. This prevents leaks of confidential information and data. A cybersecurity analyst also ensures that an organisation's cyber practices are compliant with the law and follow strict codes of conduct when it comes to data sharing. Cybersecurity analysts understand their company's internal IT infrastructure and implement adequate systems of protection to prevent those with malicious intent from accessing it and using it in harmful ways.

Useful compliance career skills

Here are some useful skills to possess when pursuing a career in compliance:

Attention to detail

Because compliance involves a great deal of investigation and assessment, having a good eye for detail is fundamental. This ensures you don't miss out on instances of malpractice that may have financial and physical repercussions. Compliance professionals work free from distractions to ensure fair and accurate assessments of organisations. Having attention to detail allows you to approach each situation critically and with an objective perspective.

Knowledge of laws in your chosen sector

There are a huge variety of different careers across nearly every business and governmental sector. This means you're highly knowledgeable about your niche set of laws or internal regulations. For example, compliance officers working in the food industry are aware of extensive food health and safety practices. This allows them to accurately assess a company's compliance and provide the best advice or guidance for improving a business's regulatory practices. Having such knowledge also protects you when someone else contests your judgment.

Communication

Though most compliance work comes through in-depth analysis, it also helps to have good communication and interpersonal skills. This is because many compliance professionals also work in an advisory capacity for businesses and organisations. Regularly, you meet with these clients to discuss assessments of their codes of conduct and provide strategies to improve their level of compliance. You may also be responsible for implementing these strategies. It's a compliance professional's responsibility to educate and communicate areas of compliance with a business clearly and accurately.

Organisation

When working in compliance, it's also necessary to have a level of organisation and efficiency in your work. This means completing and filing all documents and reports accordingly. Maintaining a high level of organisation means you present and log reports efficiently and seamlessly. Having good organisational skills also ensures that you complete your work on time, which is imperative for anyone in a position of authority. Being organised is also useful for times when you work on multiple compliance projects at once, as it enables you to keep track of the progress of each.

Objectiveness

Ideally, anyone working within a compliance role has an objective point of view across every inspection they complete. This is critical because it ensures they aren't driven by personal feelings and instead reach a conclusion based solely on what the evidence shows them. Those employed in a compliance position aren't swayed by the opinions of others or personal bribes and instead focus on reaching a fair and sound judgement as guided by legal regulations or company rules.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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