A new cross-industry report offers benchmarking data for chief compliance officers looking to see how their annual salaries stack up against their peers.
According to the salary benchmark report published by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, chief compliance officers working for publicly traded companies earned the highest average base salary at more than $200,000, while those working in the education and training industries earned the lowest average base salary at $112,980, followed by the government/policy industry at $109,478.
Broken down by industry, chief compliance officers working for utilities companies reported the highest average salary at $286,333, followed by aerospace/aviation/defense ($236,500) and energy ($236,438). Other industries that earn more than $200,000 annually include retail/wholesale ($235,508), manufacturing and production ($231,241), and financial services ($227,490).
The report also revealed that chief compliance officer salaries tend to increase as the size of the organization increased. Chief compliance officers managing compliance for company units with 30,000 or more employees reported salaries nearly twice as high as those in organizations with less than 100 employees—an average of $269,325 versus $151,627.
“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 499 employees,” SCCE said in the report.
Chief compliance officers’ compensation showed little correlation to the percentage of the company’s legal and regulatory risk areas the chief compliance officer is involved in. According to the report, chief compliance officers who are in involved in 76 percent to 100 percent of the company's legal and regulatory risk earned $180,554, while those involved in 26 percent to 50 percent of such activities earned $181,406.
Compensation of chief compliance officers showed a positive correlation to the number of employees in the compliance and ethics group managed. Chief compliance officers managing one employee earned average total cash compensation of $132,818 while those managing more than 20 employees earned $238,140.
A direct correlation also existed between chief compliance officer total cash compensation and the annual compliance budget managed. Chief Compliance Officers managing an annual compliance budget of less than $100,000 earned $116,568 while those managing budgets of $2 million or more earned $286,216.
A correlation existed, too, between chief compliance officers’ compensation and annual revenue of the organizational unit that the CCO was responsible for. Chief compliance officers of organizational units with more than $1 billion in annual revenue made, on average, $223,793. In comparison, those organizational units with annual revenue between $500 million to $1 billion dropped to an annual salary of $178,935, compared to organizational units with annual revenue between $100 million and $500 million with slightly higher average annual salaries of $182,081.
The number of years a chief compliance officer has managed the compliance department also plays a role in salary. Chief compliance officers with one year of experience managing the compliance department earned less than $144,078 in compensation, on average. Those managing the compliance department for 16 or more years earned an average compensation of $195,790.