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Salaries in COMPLIANCE Soar – as Tech-Driven Skills-Shortage Creates Skills Gap


Salaries in the compliance sector have risen 11% in the last twelve months according to specialist recruiter Randstad Financial Services.  In May 2018, the average salary in compliance was £98,900.  In the last twelve months, this has now risen to £110,100.

While Heads of Core Compliance and Heads of Central Compliance have seen salaries rise 16% – from an average of £100,800 to £116,700 – the biggest winners have been Regional Heads of Compliance who have seen average salaries increase from £190,833 to £306,667.  The very best, most sought-after candidates for these roles are now able to command salaries of up to £400,000, up from £250,000 last year.

The demand for staff means that compliance professionals working on temporary contracts are, on average, being pay 60% more than those in permanent roles.  Elsewhere in the wider financial services sector, temporary roles usually only command a 36% uplift.  Indeed, pay across the Compliance sector is now so high that it would take a Regional Head of Compliance working on a temporary basis just 9 weeks to earn the PM’s annual basic salary.  The prime minister basic salary is £74,962 – although her entire total remuneration package is over £150,000 a year – just 38% of the maximum salary commanded by a high-flying Regional Head of Compliance working on a permanent basis.

Alison Starmer, managing director of Randstad Client Solutions, said:

“While compliance superstars have seen their salaries rocket, pay rises have not been uniform across the board.  At the minimum range, we are seeing a lot of pay increases, albeit not on a huge scale.  More than half of the key compliance roles we recruit for have seen pay increases.  At the mid-range, pay has been broadly static.  We’ve seen relatively small pay rises amongst monitoring staff, for instance, at senior, manager, and associate level.  Advisory managers and associates have seen salaries rise by around 7%.  Some control room staff have actually seen asking salaries fall.  But it’s a different story for high-flyers at the top end.  A Regional Head of Compliance working on a temporary contract can command a day rate of £2,000 – up from about £1,650 this time last year.  At that sort of level, these professionals are earning the PM’s basic salary in just 9 weeks.”

The pay increases reflect short-sited reductions in the number of employees working in compliance over the course of 2017 and 2018, investment in compliance departments over the course of 2019, and huge changes in technology within the sector.  This has demanded a change in skillset from compliance professionals and has created a candidate shortage as employees are slowly re-trained.


The research, part of the Randstad Financial Services 2019 salary survey, also revealed that salaries for accountants were broadly flat compared to last year, with average salaries stuck at approximately £70,500.

The maximum salaries commanded in Internal Audit stayed at £175,000 while the minimum salary for a qualified internal auditor remained at £50,000.  Mid-range salaries sat between £75,000 and £100,000.  Temporary contracts continued to pay between £300-£400 per day at the bottom of the scale and £550 and £700 at the top.

The best accountancy professionals working on temporary contracts in Regulatory Reporting are continuing to command rates of up to £600 per day with permanent salaries also stable.

But there was much more movement in Management Reporting & Analysis.  Mid-range day rates for contractors rose 8%, from around £325 per day to approximately £350, while the maximum pay rate rose 20% from £375 to £450.  Top-end salaries for senior A-players remained at the £120,000 mark.  This means that pay in temporary contracts is now 30% higher than in permanent ones – an increase compared to the 2018 equivalent of 27%.

In Product Control, minimum range salaries stayed between £35,000 and £50,000 while mid-range pay was stable at between £50,000 and £80,000.  Maximum pay was approximately £120,000.  However, temp rates proved more volatile with minimum day rates rising dramatically, from £200 last year to £300.  Typical mid-range rates rose from £350 to £375.  And senior high-flyers saw rates rise 10% from £500 to £550.

Adam Thorpe, operations director of Randstad Financial Services, said: “Despite the ongoing uncertainty over the country’s withdrawal from the EU, London’s job market remains lucrative for accountants, bankers and other financial service professionals.  The City offers the highest salaries and bonuses in the market and will continue to be an attractive location for financial service workers in 2019.  But looking to the future, if banks do move their operations to other European hubs, there’s no question that compensation packages are going to shrink.”


Minimum ranges in Taxation remain static at between £40,000 and £50,000 while mid-range salaries continue to sit between £50,000 and £90,000.  Senior roles command now more than £90,000 with the best candidates in senior roles earning up to £200,000, depending on organisation, location, and experience.

Adam Thorpe operations director of Randstad Financial Services said:

“The UK economy had a tumultuous 2018, with growth slowing and the Bank of England raising rates to the highest level since the financial crisis.  But, despite the turmoil, asking salaries in tax remained stable.  Say what you like about working Tax but senior people are earning far more than the average MP while the A-players are earning a third more than Theresa May.  Aside from the pay, the job security in Number 10 probably isn’t as good either.”


Chris is a digital marketing and publishing whizz by trade, having worked alongside the Automotive, Information Security and Software Asset Management sectors.

Specialising in data analysis and social media, he combines an analytical approach with a creative flair to achieve the best results. With a keen interest in Technology and Politics, Chris is constantly on the look-out for the latest stories around change and innovation.

As a lover of all things innovative, he has developed a keen eye for spotting the latest trends and hot topics. He sources and reads the latest news and thought-leadership articles from the world of recruitment before sharing them with the social media population.


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