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A Career in Compliance?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 27/04/15

So, you’ve just spent the last few years gaining your legal qualification following your undergraduate degree, now the big decision, whether to start your legal career within private practice or in-house? Well, if you haven’t already considered it a career in compliance could be an alternative. Compliance is quickly becoming an integral function for most companies.

Over the last decade, increased regulation and additional investor pressure has led to a greater need for companies to have more jobs in compliance. This greater adherence to new regulation has led to a larger emphasis on the role and responsibilities of compliance. 

The size of the global compliance market has predicted growth in all regions. The European market is expected to grow from $1,303.8 million in 2013 to $2,554.7 million by 2018. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow $709.6 million from 2013 to $1,399.5 million by 2018. The Latin American EGR market is expected to grow $551.8 million from 2013 to $946.2 million by 2018. Finally, the Middle East and African market is expected to grow $594.9 million from 2013 to $1,057.1 million by 2018. The forecasted development in the market will have a direct impact on the number of jobs in compliance and will certainly increase the number of newly created in-house compliance roles.

While compliance jobs in London may not be seen see as the traditional path a budding lawyer would usually take, the increasing need for this function is becoming vital to more and more companies.  The 2013/14 Laurence Simons legal and compliance salary survey uncovered a number of interesting findings within the compliance sector. Our research showed that it is becoming evident that legal and compliance departments are becoming more integrated. There is a 4% increase in compliance being part of the legal department (between 2012 and 2013); 55% of compliance staff are qualified lawyers and 65% of respondents would prefer their compliance staff to come from a legal background.

Jobs in compliance can be remunerated just as well as other jobs in law.  Within the UK, compliance roles within asset management and investment banking pay high salaries, often in addition to a company’s benefit package. Associates can see their salaries start at around the £40,000 mark. This will increase as one becomes more experienced and changes job title with AVP’s being paid between £55,000 - £75,000, VP’s being paid between £80,000 - £100,000 and Director’s being remunerated from £100,000 upwards. These are, of course, approximate salaries and will vary depending on the organisation.

Legal compliance jobs shouldn't be instantly dismissed by those who are starting their legal career. We are seeing an increasing number of clients recruiting for this area and candidates are becoming more interested in the area of compliance and the remuneration that comes with it.