All the recent scandals in the financial world, such as PPI, LIBOR and Rate Swaps etc have had a big impact – not just for the financial institutions and the customers affected, but for the economy too. Besides the millions that have been exchanged in compensation payouts, costs and fines, there are the changes that have emerged from the change in views towards financial institutions and their employees. New rules, regulations and regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (from the ashes of the Financial Services Authority) and the Prudential Regulation Authority are now in place, and there has been a real shift in focus for many finance related businesses to not only running their businesses and making a profit, but running them in the correct way too.
Hence the recent rise in what was once the more modest compliance sector and the emergence of compliance as a career path in its own right. Graduate schemes specifically in compliance began a few years ago, though many to the sector are those who have made a move from careers in banking, accounts, audit, and indeed, law.
Those with legal education and experience are particularly able to demonstrate the skills needed for the compliance profession – namely the ability to read, understand, analyse and apply complex legal and regulatory documents. Precision is key in this field as the consequences of errors can be vast, therefore workers in compliance must be technically competent and highly skilled in a business environment too.
Despite the cutbacks that many employers are making since the recession in terms of investment and employees, compliance is the sector that is tending to withstand such pressures. Banks in particular are reinforcing their compliance departments and raising standards, with hedge fund roles and insurance based roles showing particularly high rates of employment growth. Salaries are likewise often withstanding the pay freezes with many who work in compliance expecting a pay rise this year – a true testament to the importance of what their role brings.
The future also looks bright for the legal compliance sector. Recruitment agency Randstad note the growing trend in vacancies available for compliance roles, stating a prediction of more than 30,000 new jobs by the end of this decade. Compliance could definitely prove to be a promising career indeed for those with the right qualifications and skills.