How to get a job in compliance (With roles and skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 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.

Many different industries have regulations to ensure that everyone working in the industry provides products of a certain standard that are safe for use. The people responsible for making sure that these products are in line with the rules and regulations work in compliance. Having a better understanding of how to get a job in compliance means that you can get your desired career in ensuring products meet regulations. In this article, we discuss how to get a job in compliance, some of the most common roles and important skills for compliance works.

What is a job in compliance?

Jobs in compliance focus on having an understanding of rules and regulations in a specific industry and examining company processes to ensure that they work in line with the requirements of the regulations. Jobs in compliance exist in a wide range of different industries, including manufacturing, finance and healthcare.

Working in compliance has the option of working either in the private sector or in the public sector. Private sector compliance work involves working within a company, ensuring that all of its processes and tasks are following the regulations of the industry. Compliance work in the public sector involves assessing other companies and public bodies, finding discrepancies where they exist and recommending changes to the way that companies work. In both cases, a thorough understanding of rules and regulations is a necessity.

Related: What is finance compliance? (Plus benefits and importance)

How to get a job in compliance

Here's how to get a job in compliance:

1. Complete your education

The first step in the process is completing your education. Completing your GCSE and A-level qualifications shows that you have an academic mind ideal for a better understanding of rules and regulations in addition to a set of baseline skills. Some regulations focus on flow rates, requiring strong maths skills.

In addition to school-age education, having a university education is an important part of developing your skills and abilities. Getting a degree in an industry such as finance or business introduces you to important regulations. As someone with a role in compliance, you build a better understanding of regulations from a younger age and assess them from a compliance perspective. This adds to your level of experience with compliance and makes the process of finding a job simpler.

Related: Auditor job profile (with roles and responsibilities)

2. Find an apprenticeship

Consider getting an apprenticeship in a compliance position after university. These positions pay less than full-time roles but give you time to study the important principles of compliance. You finish your apprenticeship with a relevant qualification that improves the chance of getting a role on a full contract after your apprenticeship. Companies take on apprentices as they cost less than qualified staff, whilst providing potential future employees for the business.

If you want to know what working in compliance is like without the commitment of a contract as an apprentice, consider taking on work experience. Work experience periods refer to short durations in which someone with an interest in the role shadows a senior member of staff, building experience in the role and getting more familiar with the industry. This is ideal for someone seeking more insight into what a career in compliance is like and how someone's skills suit a position in compliance.

Related: The 7 types of audits and what they are useful for

3. Learn the regulations

No matter what industry you want to work in, learning as much as you can about the relevant regulations is key. This means that you have the best possible insight into what to look for in the position and how to implement organisational changes that bring companies in line with the law. Companies always want compliance, as this makes sure that they act legally. Hiring the most informed staff members possible is key to this, so doing your research and building your understanding improves your chance of success.

Seek out relevant qualifications wherever possible. For example, looking for a role in financial compliance benefits from having certification from the Financial Conduct Authority. This demonstrates to potential employeers that you have the right skills and knowledge for the job and is an excellent addition to a CV. Completing classroom learning for your qualifications is also a good networking opportunity, improving your links to people that already work in the industry.

Related: 8 important compliance certifications for various industries

4. Apply for positions

Once you have the right skills, knowledge and certifications, start applying for some of the positions that interest you. Read through job descriptions as thoroughly as possible, as finding roles in the most interesting industry that suits your skill set is an essential part of getting the right job for you. This means that you work more efficiently when you take the role, requiring less training to have the same levels of understanding as the rest of the organisation's compliance team.

Pay extra attention to the common keywords and phrases in the job descriptions you look at. Some companies use automated systems that eliminate CVs depending on their suitability from keywords and skills the candidates possess. Featuring as many of the skills as possible improves your chances of getting your application in front of a recruitment manager, progressing you to an interview and providing the opportunity to demonstrate your competencies in front of a hiring manager.

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

Common jobs in compliance

Here are four common jobs in compliance:

1. Compliance auditor

National average salary: £30,153 per year

Primary duties: Compliance auditors work for regulatory bodies, coming into companies and ensuring that all of their processes are in line with regulations. This includes paying attention to all of the work a company completes and comparing it to regulatory standards. In addition to this, auditors provide reports for company managers, recommending change wherever necessary.

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

2. Compliance officer

National average salary: £33,725 per year

Primary duties: A compliance officer is responsible for working within a company, ensuring that all of the processes are compliant. This involves understanding the specific regulations about the way the company works and the details of the operations in the company. Compliance officers provide reports to management and recommend changes where necessary.

Related: How to become a compliance officer: a step-by-step guide

3. Compliance consultant

National average salary: £35,702 per year

Primary duties: A compliance consultant is a professional working independently that comes into a third-party business. The compliance consultant recommends changes to the company that bring processes in line with regulations. Companies use compliance consultants as a means of getting ready for audits from state regulators whenever necessary.

4. Compliance engineer

National average salary: £38,667 per year

Primary duties: A compliance engineer works in the manufacturing industry. They're responsible for designing and implementing compliant equipment and machinery for the organisation. This entails building a thorough understanding of regulations and implementing guidelines in a range of manufacturing software that keeps designs compliant with a range of different regulations.

Compliance job skills

Here are some of the most common skills necessary for a successful career in compliance:

  • Report writing: Compliance officers write reports to companies and managers setting out the extent to which an organisation complies with the existing regulations.

  • Integrity: People working in compliance are honest throughout, disregarding personal connections with the company and delivering true outcomes.

  • Attention to detail: Compliance officers have a high level of attention to detail and ensure that no individual facet of the company's operation risks breaching regulations.

  • Problem-solving: People working in compliance find solutions to compliance issues in companies, thinking creatively to get companies and processes in line with regulations.

  • Organisation skills: Compliance officers assess a wide range of aspects of a company, and organisation skills help them be as efficient as possible.

  • IT knowledge: People working in compliance complete a lot of compliance work on computers, writing reports and understanding automated processes in detail.

  • Research: Compliance officers complete a lot of research regarding regulations and changes in rules, in addition to researching the specifics of company processes.

  • Communication: People working in compliance both listen and talk to employees as a method of learning more about the way a company works in comparison to regulations.

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.‌

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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