Trade Compliance

GHY discusses changes to international trade regulations and explores cutting-edge compliance strategies.

2015 Compliance and Ethics Officer Salary Survey

Posted October 13, 2015


The most recent annual salary survey from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) reveals that chief compliance officers are generally well-compensated. The average salary for a COO working in a sector outside of healthcare managing at least 26% of their organization’s legal and regulatory risk was $150,207, and their total compensation was $179,753.

Having professional qualifications and international responsibilities can boost earnings higher, with CCOs that are also certified public accounts having an average salary of $188,700, or $30,000 more than professionals with a certified compliance and ethics designation. Chief compliance officers managing a staff or 30 or more made an average of $202,346, while those running programs with a budget of $2 million or more made $223,375. For those overseeing compliance in 11 or more countries, the average salary was $227,710, compared with $156,600 for those with programs in two to 10 nations.

“What’s happening is corporate America is seeing that the position they once thought might be more of a mid-level is more of a higher level,” Roy Snell, chief executive of the SCCE told the Wall Street Journal. This will be even more evident as companies digest the U.S. Department of Justice’s Yates memo and its threat to hold corporate leadership criminally responsible for their company’s compliance failures and violations, he said. As they realize the risks, companies are likely to consider the compliance officer more of an asset to help them stay out of trouble.

“But the only way the compliance officer can help them do that is if they have a seat at the table. So everybody is hiring compliance officers for the first time in this country and they’re learning the challenge of this job is so great so they will start hiring higher-level individuals and that will be reflected in these salaries,” Mr. Snell said.

This study was conducted this summer for SCCE by Industry Insights, Inc., an independent professional survey research firm located in Dublin, Ohio. The SCCE stresses that “as an organization or individual compares their salary information to that of the profession, it is important to remember that the statistics published in this report should be regarded as ‘guidelines’ rather than ‘absolute standards’.”

Click here to download the report.