Chief compliance officers and compliance staff wondering how their annual salaries stack up against their peers will want to check out a new salary benchmark report published by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and the Health Care Compliance Association.

The 2017 “Cross-Industry Chief Compliance Officer and Staff Salary Surveys” report analyzed the salaries of 444 individuals who were selected for the report by satisfying the following criteria: the chief compliance officer (CCO) worked for a non-healthcare provider; and was responsible for at least 26 percent of a company’s legal and regulatory risk.

“Since organizations will differ, depending upon their location, size, and other factors, any two organizations may offer their employees a reasonably attractive compensation package, and yet be very different,” the report stated. Duration of employment and nature of prior experience, for example, will influence an individual’s pay.

“Thus, a deviation between any one organization’s figures and a number appearing on a table in this report is not necessarily good or bad; it is merely an indication that additional scrutiny may be warranted,” the report stated.

As with previous years’ findings, CCOs’ compensation showed little correlation to the percentage of the company’s legal and regulatory risk areas the CCO is involved in. According to the report, CCOs who are in involved in 76 percent to 100 percent of the company’s legal and regulatory risk earned an annual salary of $171,490, while those involved in 26 percent to 50 percent of such activities showed earnings of $174,274.

But CCO compensation did show a positive correlation to the number of employees being managed in the compliance and ethics group. CCOs managing one employee earned average total cash compensation of $124,477, while those managing more than 20 employees earned $299,376.

Furthermore, CCO salaries tend to increase with company size. CCOs managing 30,000 or more employees reported salaries more than twice as high as those in companies with less than 100 employees—an average of $296,737 versus $144,804. “It should be noted that CCOs at organizations with less than 100 employees may have had a higher executive level position or more than one position, which led to a higher average salary, than those working at organization with 100 to 999 employees,” the report stated.

A direct correlation also existed between CCO salary and the average annual compliance budget managed. CCOs managing an annual compliance budget of less than $100,000 earned $136,804, while those managing budgets of at least $2 million earned $329,544.

Salaries are also commensurate with experience and professional certifications. CCOs with just one year of experience managing a compliance department earned $131,058 in compensation, on average. In comparison, those managing the compliance department for a minimum of 16 years earned an average compensation of $241,798. CCO salaries neared the $200,000 mark for those who have managed a compliance department for at least four years.

CCOs with certifications earned more than those without a certification. Those with a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional-International (CCEP-I) certification had an average salary of $245,463, while those with a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) certification earned $201,677. Those without a certification earned an average salary of $168,023.

CCOs working for publicly traded companies earned the highest average total cash compensation at $237,252, followed by CCOs working at privately held companies at $171,601. Those working at governmental organizations earned the lowest average base salary at $139,765.

Broken down by industry, chief compliance officers working for the Pharma/Medical Device industry reported the highest average salary at 275,233, followed by consulting ($238,936) and information technology ($224,600). Other industries that earn more than $200,000 annually include financial services ($218,903), and manufacturing and production ($200,968).

Non-compliance staff salaries

The SCCE salary benchmark report also included benchmark data, assessing another 831 employees of non-healthcare provider organizations who were not chief compliance officers. Of those respondents, 41 percent identified themselves as an assistant/specialist, while 37 percent identified themselves as managers.

Directors also made up a significant percentage of the respondents (18 percent). The remaining three percent were vice presidents. Average compensation ranged from $182,274 for vice presidents to $77,470 for assistants/specialists.

The most represented industry that participated in the survey was insurance (22 percent), followed by pharma/medical devices (7 percent), higher education and manufacturing/production (6 percent each), and financial services (5 percent).

In general, compensation correlated with the size of a company’s annual compliance budget. The larger the annual compliance budget, the larger the total compensation for all job titles and levels. In the director role, for example, those with budgets of $1 million or more earned average total compensation of $193,548, while those with less than $100,000 earned average total compensation of $111,400.

The larger the company, the larger the compliance professional’s average total compensation, particularly as it applies to the director role; the annual total compensation of directors at companies with more than $3 billion in annual revenue was $183,836, while directors at companies with less than $5 million in annual revenue was $116,455.

As with chief compliance officer compensation, salaries appear commensurate with experience and professional certifications. Those with at least 21 years’ experience in the director role earned compensation of $179,117, compared to $116,035 with less than three years; in the manager role, $106,440 versus $92,782; and in the assistant role $128,403 versus $67,610. Similarly, too, respondents with a certification earned more than those without one.

By organization type, publicly traded companies paid the highest average compensation, whereas academic and governmental organizations paid the lowest compensation.

These findings offer just a sneak peek into the SCCE/HCCA comprehensive’s compliance salary benchmark report. With data compiled from compliance professionals in many industries around the world, companies and individual compliance officers will want to have a closer look to more clearly be able benchmark their salary against competitors and industry peers.