Compliance professionals are in high demand these days. How much demand? Well, according to Donal Whelan, Director of Compliance, Risk and Financial Services with Lincoln Recruitment Specialists, the recruitment market has never been so busy. He shared eight key insights for compliance professionals on the current market for compliance roles.
There are more vacant compliance roles currently than professionals available with the experience and qualifications to fill them. Candidates have more choices at their fingertips than ever before, according to Whelan. He says “I honestly have never seen the market as busy as it is now. It’s just absolutely crazy – there is so much demand.” With great demand comes great opportunities, but also some challenges for candidates to navigate. It can be easy to focus on a short-term gain as opposed to a move that will enhance your long-term career journey.
Whelan advises candidates to approach opportunities in a considered way. “In a busy market where you’re inundated with opportunities, it’s important to choose your opportunities in the right way. Choose the types of roles and companies that are going to allow you to progress to the next steps. Sometimes you can get blindsided by salary – but salary is not the be all and end all. Sometimes the opportunities which don’t offer the immediate salary increase you are hoping for can be the better move in the long term,” Whelan explains.
With salaries on the rise, Whelan cautioned against looking for too big a jump in salary for your next role. He encourages candidates to be mindful of salary expectations, warning “I have seen situations in the past where people come to market and look for exorbitant salary increases and just price themselves out of the market.”
In a competitive market, packages outside of salary are more important than ever before. “Employers are using wider benefits packages and wellbeing initiatives to differentiate themselves in the market. From a jobseeker’s point of view – it can sometimes be the factor that makes you choose one role over another.”
With a lack of available and qualified candidates at many levels in compliance, employers are widening their search to candidates who may meet some, but not all the experience or qualification requirements for a position. This can provide great opportunities for candidates to enter the profession or take on a new challenge. “If you can demonstrate your soft skills, that can sometimes overcome a lack of technical skills.”
Compliance is a field with great opportunities for career progression and development. With employers actively looking for new candidates to enter the compliance field, now is a great time to consider a career in compliance. For anyone weighing up a move into the field, Whelan shared some key advice. “The first thing I would always say to people interested in getting in to compliance – go do your qualifications with IOB - the Professional Diploma in Compliance and take up the LCI designation awarded by Compliance Institute, which is recognised by the Central Bank of Ireland minimum competency code. You’re not going to be considered for any job in compliance if you haven’t at least done your exams.”
For those individuals considering a move in to compliance from a role in the first line of defence, Whelan recommends considering the transferable skills that will be relevant for a compliance position. “If you have a few years’ experience working in a first line role in financial services for example – ask yourself, what are the transferrable skills that are going to make you appealing to a potential employer? Chances are you will have had some exposure to a code of conduct in your work – such as the Consumer Protection Code or AML. It is important to be able to clearly articulate your knowledge of that particular regulation that you have had exposure to and how you can apply that knowledge in a second line context. I also advise targeting your search to firms who are subject to the regulations which you have had exposure to and where your knowledge can be transferred.”
More experienced compliance professional might look to upskill with IOB’s programmes in data protection or in managing financial crime.
Whelan sees the biggest demand for candidates at a manager level, with 5-8 years of experience working in compliance. There is also strong demand within the Financial Crime area due to the recent notification from the CBI to create the new PCF52 role. “Larger companies are creating specific financial crime and AML teams – thereby creating demand for financial crime professionals.”
The Fund Management space has exploded in Ireland since Brexit. Since the Central Bank introduced CP86, mandating firms in this space to have Designated Persons in place, there has been significant demand in recent years for suitably qualified professionals to fill these roles. “Every Management Company is fighting for talent in this space which is generally in relative short supply” Whelan explains. IOB recently introduced a Professional Certificate for Designated Persons in a Fund Management Company to support individuals who work in or aspire to these roles.
Begin or advance your career in compliance with IOB
Looking to boost your compliance skillset and advance your career? Check out IOB’s portfolio of UCD accredited governance, risk and compliance programmes. IOB offers the MSc in Compliance and the Professional Certificate in Data Protection and the Professional Certificate in Financial Crime Prevention programmes at level 9. Compliance Institute invites successful graduates from these programmes to take up their professional designations FCI, CPDO and CPCP, recognised as badges of excellence by industry.