On the fence about a career in compliance? Here are 10 reasons to help push you to join the growing profession:


The International Compliance Association (ICA) is a professional membership and awarding body. ICA is the leading global provider of professional, certificated qualifications in anti-money laundering; governance, risk, and compliance; and financial crime prevention. ICA members are recognized globally for their commitment to best compliance practice and an enhanced professional reputation. To find out more, visit the ICA website.

1. There is a career path from entry-level to the board.

Not only do graduate trainee programs now include compliance in their schedule, but entry-level roles are available (often termed as an analyst) in most compliance monitoring departments. Team leader, manager, senior/function manager, executive, and director roles are also available in most firms. Senior compliance professionals at heavily regulated firms require authorization from the regulator themselves.

2. It’s not just about knowing the detail of regulation—it’s about understanding people and behaviors.

While knowing the technicalities of regulation is important, you cannot be an effective compliance officer if you cannot interpret the spirit of regulation and inform the business of its legal responsibilities and the implications of noncompliance. To disseminate this message, you need to understand how people act and think. Listening skills are also vital, to understand why people behave the way they do in the workplace.

3. You are the customer’s champion.

One of the fundamental objectives of regulation is consumer protection. Much of the purpose of a compliance function is to ensure customers are treated fairly and with respect. Compliance professionals therefore have a strong sense of ethical responsibility, knowing the work they do contributes to a just, fair, and ethical relationship between business and customer.

4. You are the organization’s ethical heart.

Following on from above, while it is the board’s job to embed ethical behavior in the organization’s culture, compliance professionals are central in ensuring that “doing the right thing” is seen as a natural extension of being compliant.

5. You get to go anywhere in the business and develop a real understanding of its total activities.

Given that regulatory requirements extend across the bulk of an organization’s activities, you will find over time you will get to work with most, if not all, functions and departments within a firm. This provides a strong sense of independence and flexibility, allowing you to understand what they do, why they do it, and how they do it.

6. Regulation is never going to go away; therefore, job security!

Occasionally old regulations and laws are removed, but the overriding trend is for further regulation. Consequently, more compliance is required, and thus more compliance professionals are required within firms.

7. The skills required are highly transferable across roles, industries, and jurisdictions.

The key skills and attributes required of a compliance professional are easily transferable as your career develops: communication skills, business knowledge and acumen, pragmatism, and risk management are all much sought-after in multiple industries and roles.

8. Demand for skilled compliance professionals outstrips supply.

Regulation is not going away, and firms are desperate for qualified, competent compliance professionals. Not only have opportunities significantly increased in recent years, but so too have the remuneration packages available.

9. You get to interact with external bodies and individuals a great deal, build networks, and maybe even travel.

Compliance is a global community that transcends industries and national borders. There is a growing community of compliance professionals across many different regulated industries and jurisdictions. The International Compliance Association continues to play a pivotal role in the growing professionalization of compliance and provides support, expertise, and training to equip compliance professionals with the tools for the job.

10. It’s never boring!

The regulatory environment is in a constant state of flux, with sometimes very rapid change necessary, so you are never quite sure what the priorities (and therefore your activities) will be from one week to the next. Compliance is not your standard 9-to-5 role.

The International Compliance Association is a sister company to Compliance Week. Both organizations are under the umbrella of Wilmington plc.