Is your compliance department suitably resourced?

Is your compliance department suitably resourced?Compliance departments play a vital role in identifying risks, introducing controls to prevent them from playing out, and monitoring their effectiveness. Yet despite this, many companies find themselves short-staffed when it comes to compliance, potentially posing a threat to their ongoing operations.

The 2015 Barclay Simpson Corporate Governance Recruitment Market Report for the compliance sector reveals that many organisations need to step up their compliance recruitment, despite facing a widespread shortage of candidates. More than half (55 per cent) of departments say they are currently under-resourced, up from just 39 per cent when the same survey was carried out a year earlier.

How are companies striving to improve compliance recruitment?

In the face of this significant problem, companies are doing all they can to bolster their compliance recruitment efforts.

To ensure their compliance teams are sufficiently staffed, companies are moving to streamline their employment processes, speeding them up and making them more efficient. Whereas a couple of years ago it was not uncommon for this process to be so lengthy and complex it became interminable, candidates are now much more likely to progress from the first interview to being offered a job within just two weeks – significantly improving the rate of placements.

However, there are still significant barriers in the way of companies’ attempts to take on more compliance practitioners. One of the biggest is the growing prevalence of counter-offers: as employers are increasingly aware of the need to bring the best people to their compliance departments and hold on to their star performers, they are more prepared to negotiate on terms and come back with a new proposal. This is not necessarily restricted to an increase – potentially, a substantial one – in basic salary; many counter-offers also involve an expanded role.

This is clearly having an impact on wages. One in four managers say salary expectations have become excessive and beyond their budget, up from one in six when the study was last completed.

Another significant issue – a shortage of candidates with enough experience – can be traced back to the drop in recruitment in the wake of the financial crisis. This means there are now fewer candidates with three to five years of experience – the level at which companies typically wish to recruit.

The effect of a challenging compliance recruitment market

The conflict between needing to boost compliance recruitment and dealing with a lack of available candidates poses a significant challenge – one that companies are dealing with through compromising on their requirements.

Demand and competition for suitably skilled compliance practitioners is now at its highest level since before the global economic downturn, when banks appeared to view compliance recruitment as a means to appease regulators. Their haste meant companies were often not as strenuous as usual when selecting candidates.

It now appears to be far harder to attract and recruit people with the right combination of skills. Only three per cent of companies surveyed said they found the availability of compliance candidates to be plentiful, while the number of respondents describing it as difficult stood at 71 per cent – up from 64 per cent a year earlier. There was an increase in departments struggling to find candidates with the right technical skills, and many also admitted they were having difficulty finding people with effective interpersonal skills.

In the face of such challenges, many organisations are looking to adopt new methods to take on the right people in compliance roles. More companies are choosing to recruit from within or from firms in different sectors, while others have chosen to expand beyond their current list of preferred recruitment consultancies.

It appears that the significant demand for sufficiently skilled compliance practitioners is unlikely to diminish in the short term. Just 13 per cent of managers surveyed for the report said they are unlikely to recruit during 2015.

Our Market Reports combine our review of the prevailing conditions in the compliance recruitment market together with the results of our 2015 employer survey.ADNFCR-1684-ID-801788463-ADNFCR