Every month, Robert Walters highlights a position that is highly sought after on the Belgian labour market. This month, we discuss the role of a Compliance Officer.
Demand for Compliance Officers has increased by as much as 76% since the beginning of this year compared to the same period last year*. Melina Kayila, Senior Consultant at Robert Walters and specialist in recruiting Compliance Officers, explains why demand is so high.
What exactly does a Compliance Officer do?
Melina: "Compliance Officers ensure that an organisation operates in a legal and ethical manner and that the reputation and integrity of the company is protected. They ensure that the organisation they work for complies with all external rules and legal requirements and that internal policies are respected. They also work with management and other employees to identify potential risks. Based on these findings, the internal policies are constantly reviewed and updated so that the right strategic decisions can be made".
What skills and educational background are needed to be successful as a Compliance Officer?
"To know which laws and regulations apply to the organisation a Compliance Officer works for, a legal background is important. A Law Degree is an excellent basis for translating the rules and laws into business activities. A previous experience in audit or risk management is a nice plus, but not a must. More important is the recognition as 'Certified Compliance Officer'. Professionals who invest in themselves and pass this exam, significantly increase their chances on the job market. But having the right educational background is obviously not enough. Strong communication skills and empathy are essential. After all, as Compliance Officer you are in daily contact with various departments and the management team, and you must ensure that all parties involved apply the laws and regulations. This can sometimes lead to conflicts, so persuasiveness and a sense of diplomacy are important. In addition, you must be able to anticipate, analyse and think critically. Legislation is constantly evolving and the rules must be carefully applied within the organisation. This brings along a lot of stress, so as a Compliance Officer you have to be able to deal with this as well.
Finally, majority of Compliance Officer jobs are based in the Brussels region. A good knowledge of Dutch and French is therefore indispensable, as is a good knowledge of English, since internal communication within the organisation often occurs in English.
Is the demand for Compliance Officers high?
"The bank sector is under great pressure to ensure that all laws and regulations are strictly respected. Because legislation is constantly evolving and organisations - especially now - cannot afford to take risks and make the wrong investments for example, it is more important than ever to have a strong compliance team. We see this in the demand for compliance specialists: the number of vacancies has increased by no less than 76% since the beginning of this year compared to the same period last year. In large company structures, one compliance specialist is obviously not enough. Several Compliance Officers offer operational support to the Head of Compliance and actively participate in projects within anti-money laundering , fraud and counterterrorism for example".
What advice can you give to professionals considering a career in compliance?
"Starting professionals with a Master's degree in Law who are looking for a challenging job with great future prospects, should definitely also look at opportunities within the financial world. The majority of compliance jobs can be found in the banking and insurance sector. But every large organisation that pay high importance to their employer brand and that’s risk aware, employs one or more compliance professionals.
As a Compliance Officer you play a very important role in the future of the organisation by closely monitoring legislation and its implementation. If the position of Compliance Officer appeals to you, it is certainly advisable to take the CCO exam (Certified Compliance Officer) to increase your chances on the job market. If you like to go a step further and you want to do more than only what is expected of you to support your manager, you will make great career steps. And who knows, you might eventually become the Head of Compliance with an entire team to support you".
Finally, what salary can a Compliance Officer expect?
"On average, a Compliance Officer earns between 4000 - 5000 EUR gross per month. A Senior Compliance Officer or Compliance Manager with a number of years of experience can expect a gross monthly salary of 6000 - 7000 EUR. In most organisations, this salary is complemented by an insurance package, mobile phone and laptop and lunch vouchers or a company restaurant. As soon as you become Head of Compliance with supervision of an entire team, your salary rises on average to 10,000 EUR gross per month, supplemented with a bonus and company car.
Looking for a Compliance Officer job?
Take a look at our most recent compliance jobs or send us your CV.