What are the different types of compliance jobs?

5 min

In an era of continuous regulatory change, compliance has become a key priority for business...

JCW Resourcing

By JCW Resourcing

In an era of continuous regulatory change, compliance has become a key priority for businesses across a wide range of industries. As governments worldwide tighten legislation around corporate governance, data protection, and ethical practices, the demand for exceptional talent to fill critical compliance jobs is on the rise. For job-seekers looking to enter a field that is both challenging and professionally fulfilling, a career in compliance is a worthy choice. 

In this guide, we aim to give you a greater understanding of the different career paths that aspiring professionals can embark on in the world of compliance. We’ll discuss five of the most important roles in the compliance sector in great detail, examining their skills and responsibilities, requirements, and career prospects. 

Here are the jobs we’ll cover in this guide: 

  1. Fraud analyst

  2. Anti-bribery and corruption officer

  3. Money laundering reporting officer 

  4. Compliance officer

  5. Chief compliance officer

1. Fraud analyst

First up on our list of compliance jobs is fraud analyst. With research indicating that 59% of firms expect financial crime to rise in the coming years, the demand for fraud analysts is likely to grow. As the nature of financial crime evolves owing to technological advancement and economic uncertainty, companies will need outstanding fraud analysts at the heart of their compliance teams. Fraud analysts are at the forefront of the fight against financial crime, and without their efforts, firms would be vulnerable to a wide array of financial threats. 

Skills and responsibilities of a fraud analyst

From detecting and investigating signs of fraudulent activity to conducting research into the latest trends and developments in the world of financial crime, fraud analysts are responsible for a range of important duties. Due to ever-changing financial crime methods, they are required to deal with a broad spectrum of crime types, including traditional cases of stolen identity and high-tech, AI-powered deep fake scams. 

Let’s explore the most common responsibilities of a fraud analyst: 

  • Detect and investigate fraudulent activities by examining accounts, transactions, and data
  • Utilise data analysis tools to identify patterns and trends that may indicate fraud 
  • Conduct risk assessments of transactions to determine the likelihood of fraudulent behaviour 
  • Implement prevention strategies to mitigate the impact of financial crime 
  • Provide training to employees on fraud prevention best practices

Fraud analysts must possess a blend of technical, interpersonal, and analytical skills for effectively detecting and combating financial crime. A deep understanding of fraud prevention technologies is particularly essential, not least due to the prevalence of AI-driven fraud methods. The model fraud analyst will have the ability to analyse large data sets, engage in critical thinking to develop innovative solutions, and explain complex fraud concepts to colleagues who may not have expertise in financial crime. 

How to become a fraud analyst 

Although having a degree isn’t a mandatory requirement for the profession, many employers will favour candidates who have a degree in finance, accounting, computer science, or another related field. Holding professional certifications, such as Certified Fraud Examiner or Certified Fraud Analyst, is beneficial as they demonstrate that you have committed a career in preventing financial crime. You can also strengthen your CV by taking training courses offered by organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Forensic Accountants and Investigators. 

Once you have the relevant qualifications, you should look for valuable work experience opportunities within financial institutions, retail organisations, or insurance companies. You could pursue entry-level positions in fraud prevention, risk management, or even customer service to gain hands-on experience in dealing with various types of financial crime. You could also volunteer at organisations like Action Fraud or the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. 

Fraud analyst career prospects

It’s no secret that the methods employed by fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so it’s unsurprising why the need for skilled fraud analysts is on the rise globally. The UK is no exception, and fraud analysts are likely to find an abundance of job opportunities here. A combination of growing financial crime threats and a shortage of skilled candidates means that the career prospects for this profession are bright. 

Fraud analysts work in a variety of industries, including banking, cyber security, e-commerce, and government agencies. After a few years in a generalist role, financial analysts may choose to specialise in a specific area of financial crime, such as credit card fraud, identity theft, healthcare fraud, and banking fraud. You can look forward to numerous benefits and incentives throughout your career, including rewarding work, travel opportunities, and continuous learning opportunities. 

2. Anti-bribery and corruption officer

Like fraud analysts, anti-bribery and corruption officers find themselves in sharp demand. From government agencies to financial institutions, all manner of organisations rely on anti-bribery and corruption officers to mitigate the financial and reputational risks associated with corruption. According to a government report, 30% of businesses have experienced some form of bribery or corruption, a sobering figure that highlights why the role of anti-bribery and corruption officers is one of the most crucial compliance jobs. 

Skills and responsibilities of an anti-bribery and corruption officer

Anti-bribery and corruption officers are chiefly responsible for developing, implementing, and managing strategies designed to detect and prevent corruption. Bribery and corruption cases can be extremely difficult to detect, especially due to the increasingly sophisticated and complex techniques employed by the perpetrators. So, if you are looking for a compliance job that is challenging and fulfilling in equal measure, an anti-bribery and corruption officer role may be an ideal route for you. 

Here are the core responsibilities of an anti-bribery and corruption officer: 

  • Implement policies and procedures to mitigate the threats posed by bribery and corruption
  • Carry out regular risk assessments to pinpoint areas of an organisation that are vulnerable to corrupt activities
  • Investigate allegations of corruption in accordance with the latest rules and regulations 
  • Prepare and submit reports to senior management, providing recommendations on how to bolster the organisation’s defences against corruption and bribery 
  • Create whistleblower programs for employees and stakeholders to report suspected bribery anonymously  

To succeed as an anti-bribery and corruption officer, you must understand national and international laws, such as the UK Bribery Act 2010. This legislation provides guidance on corporate liability, foreign bribery, and facilitation payments, so a thorough knowledge of these intricacies is essential. 

Strong analytical and investigation skills are needed to uncover hidden patterns indicative of corruption, conduct risk assessments, and make critical decisions. Excellent verbal and written communication is also a must, as interpersonal skills are vital for building trust with colleagues, explaining complex compliance issues, and gathering information during investigations. 

How to become an anti-bribery and corruption officer 

Becoming an anti-bribery and corruption officer can be a somewhat long-winded process, reflecting the importance of the role. To be considered for an entry-level role, candidates need to hold a bachelor's degree in law, criminology, business with compliance, or another related subject. They also need a postgraduate qualification in a discipline such as financial crime investigation or anti-corruption studies. Some employers may also expect candidates to obtain professional certifications like the Professional Certificate in Counter Bribery and Corruption. 

With the right qualifications, you will be ready to gain on-the-job work experience in a graduate position. Be sure to look for roles in compliance, risk management, or financial crime prevention within a range of organisation types, such as law firms and government agencies. Participating in internships or volunteering opportunities is another surefire way to stand out from other candidates. 

Anti-bribery and corruption officer career prospects 

The annual costs of corruption are estimated to amount to a staggering $3.6 trillion worldwide, and this unwelcome trend shows no sign of going away. However, this also means that the job outlook for aspiring anti-bribery and corruption officers is strong. Whether you wish to find employment at a private company, law firm, or NGO, you won’t have trouble finding a position that suits your preferences. 

Throughout your career in corruption prevention, you can expect a series of sought-after benefits, including exciting intellectual challenges, global career opportunities, and competitive pay. There is also a well-defined career path, with an abundance of opportunities for entry-level, mid-level, and senior professionals. Common senior-level roles within anti-bribery and corruption compliance include chief investigator and director of anti-corruption strategy. 

The compliance recruitment space is defined by its dynamic nature, and it’s important for candidates to keep up to date with the latest trends. If you want to learn more about the developments shaping the compliance sector, we encourage you to read our ‘8 Top Trends and Insights in Compliance Recruitment in 2023’ guide. 

3. Money laundering reporting officer

Next up on our list is a money laundering reporting officer. Like financial crime and corruption, money laundering is a serious concern for organisations throughout the public and private sectors. Research shows that the approximate amount of money laundered worldwide is somewhere between 2% and 5% of the global GDP, equating to between $800 billion and $2 trillion a year. Owing to the increasingly complex methods money launderers are using, the demand for high-quality professionals with the skills to combat this criminal activity is guaranteed to grow.  

Skills and responsibilities of a money laundering reporting officer 

For organisations looking to mitigate the risks of illegal financial activities, money laundering reporting officers are of paramount importance. Their core responsibility is to protect their organisation’s financial integrity by implementing strategies tailored to identifying and addressing potential cases of money laundering. As with the other compliance jobs featured on this list, this role requires the postholder to be able to balance analytical, technical, and interpersonal skills to carry out their duties effectively. 

Let’s delve into the responsibilities of a money laundering reporting officer: 

  • Outline and implement policies to detect money laundering within the organisation 
  • Assess and investigate reports of suspicious activity relating to money laundering
  • Report any suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency or other law enforcement bodies
  • Regularly review anti-money laundering policies, risk assessments, and internal reporting processes to ensure compliance 
  • Provide staff training on anti-money laundering best practices 

One of the most important attributes a money laundering reporting officer should possess is a deep understanding of relevant legislation and guidance, such as the Money Laundering Regulations Act 2007 and the FCA Handbook. As well as being well versed in the necessary regulations, money laundering reporting officers must display exceptional communication skills, make key decisions in high-pressure circumstances, and have IT skills for utilising specialist money laundering detection software. 

How to become a money laundering reporting officer  

While there are no specific academic requirements for money laundering reporting officer roles, having relevant qualifications can certainly be advantageous. Many companies prefer applicants with degrees in disciplines like finance, law, or accounting. Professional qualifications like the ICA-Certified Money Laundering Reporting Officer certification are also likely to pique the interest of potential employers as they highlight your dedication to the profession. 

You can look for entry-level financial crime prevention or anti-money laundering compliance roles when you have gained your qualifications. As money laundering is a specialised professional area, making connections with well-established individuals in the industry can open doors to a wide array of job opportunities you may not otherwise have access to. Another crucial step in becoming a money laundering reporting officer is to get approval from the Financial Conduct Authority. This body will assess your knowledge of the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations. 

Money laundering reporting officer career prospects

The job outlook is particularly promising for money laundering reporting officers. Demand for these all-important professionals is currently high, largely due to increased regulations and evolving tactics employed by money launderers. They can typically find employment in compliance teams across a selection of industries, including insurance companies, fin-tech startups, and banks. 

Due to the role’s specialised skill set, money laundering reporting officers can expect to receive competitive compensation and benefits packages. Understandably, combating financial crime is a high-priority task for any business or institution, so job security tends to be strong in this career path. Experienced money laundering reporting officers will also have the chance to specialise in specific areas of the profession, such as sanctions compliance, cybercrime, or trade-based money laundering. 

4. Compliance officer

With an ever-more intricate web of laws and ethical standards to uphold, businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on compliance officers to ensure that their operations are compliant with the latest regulations. Research from Statista shows that the number of compliance officers in the United States has been steadily rising since 2010, a statistic indicating that the need for these professionals is intensifying. 

Skills and responsibilities of a compliance officer 

As one of the most vital compliance jobs, the role of compliance officer requires the post-holder to have a firm grasp of the relevant laws, regulations, and internal policies. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that these regulations are followed to the letter, implementing strategies and methods designed to achieve compliance. To thrive as a compliance officer, you must balance thorough legal knowledge with a range of hard and soft professional skills. 

Here are the key responsibilities of a compliance officer: 

  • Liaise with management to develop and enact policies designed to ensure regulatory compliance
  • Routinely report on compliance risks and offer expert recommendations to management on how to address these issues
  • Investigate potential violations of regulations or internal policies and take appropriate action 
  • Keep a detailed record of all compliance-related procedures, policies, and activities
  • Foster a culture of compliance within the organisation by providing training for employees

First and foremost, compliance officers must be able to show that they have a deep understanding of the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to the industry they work in. This may include laws in relation to financial reporting, anti-corruption, and data privacy. As well as having in-depth legal knowledge, compliance officers need to accurately identify suspected compliance breaches, communicate effectively with colleagues, and have meticulous attention to detail when reviewing compliance documentation. 

How to become a compliance officer 

If you are looking for a profession that allows you to uphold ethical and legal standards while safeguarding companies, a compliance officer career may be your perfect choice. Academic qualifications are not strictly required for entering the profession; however, earning a degree in a discipline such as law, finance, or business may catch the eye of potential employers. A variety of professional compliance certifications can boost your application, which are offered by bodies like the International Compliance Association. 

When it comes to applying for entry-level roles, it is important to pursue positions within the industries you’re interested in. For instance, if you have specialist knowledge of compliance requirements in the technology sector, you could seek compliance officer jobs at tech startups, software development companies, or e-commerce firms. Networking is also essential, so be sure to utilise platforms like LinkedIn and attend industry events to meet other compliance professionals. 

Compliance officer career prospects 

As we alluded to earlier, the demand for compliance officers is undoubtedly on the up. With hot-button issues like a greater emphasis on compliance enforcement, a rise in cybercrime concerns, and the increased awareness of risk management not going away any time soon, this trend is set to continue. The advancement of technology is also driving the growth in compliance jobs. Data analytics and automation tools are leveraged for streamlining compliance processes, opening new professional pathways for compliance officers with tech-savvy skills. 

The career path for compliance officers is also relatively well-defined. Many start their careers by gaining hands-on experience in positions like compliance analyst or risk analyst before working their way up the career ladder. With years of experience, officers can rise to the rank of chief compliance officer, a role that we’ll discuss in more detail in the next section. Given the dynamic nature of compliance, compliance officers can look forward to continuous learning and development opportunities, ideal for those who value intellectual challenges. 

5. Chief compliance officer

Throughout this guide, we have repeatedly referred to the various trends that are contributing to a growing reliance on compliance teams. In an era of complex regulations, cyber security risks, and a focus on ethical conduct, the need for effective and decisive leadership at the top of compliance departments is a necessity. With research from KPMG showing that 73% of organisations plan to bolster their compliance practices, the need for top chief compliance officers is likely to increase. 

Skills and responsibilities of a chief compliance officer 

The significance of chief compliance officers cannot be understated. They set the standards and provide the strategic vision required to drive higher levels of regulatory compliance. While their overarching aim is to develop and implement compliance programs for their staff to follow, chief compliance officers are expected to perform an array of other key duties. 

Let’s delve into the roles and responsibilities of a chief compliance officer:

  • Provide leadership and guidance for compliance officer teams
  • Build strong relationships with regulatory bodies 
  • Advise senior management on how to improve compliance and avoid risks 
  • Keep up to date with the latest compliance trends and developments and adapt policies accordingly 
  • Oversee internal monitoring and auditing processes to evaluate compliance with established policies and procedures 

Like compliance officers, chief compliance officers must have a combination of legal expertise, strong analytical skills, and effective communication at their disposal. However, they also require managerial and leadership skills to foster a culture of compliance. Influencing staff to adapt their behaviour to align with the latest regulations is no easy feat, and yet it is an essential step in building a compliant workplace. So, if you possess the necessary skills and are passionate about making a difference, a chief compliance officer career could be the one for you.  

How to become a chief compliance officer 

In the previous section, we covered the academic requirements for becoming a compliance officer, and many of those apply for the chief compliance officer role too. However, it may be necessary to gain additional qualifications for compliance officers who aspire to rise to the rank of chief. For instance, a postgraduate qualification such as an MBA or MSc in Compliance can demonstrate that you are well-versed in the field of compliance. Employers may look out for professional certifications like the Certified Compliance Professional qualification. 

Building relevant experience is perhaps the most important step in the path to becoming a chief compliance officer. You'll be ready to enter the compliance officer profession after gaining significant experience in an entry-level role like a compliance analyst or legal assistant. With 5 years of experience in a compliance officer role, you can begin to look at senior compliance roles, team lead positions, and, ultimately, chief compliance officer jobs. 

Chief compliance officer career prospects 

The career prospects for chief compliance officers are promising. The demand for these skilled and experienced professionals is expected to continue growing, offering exciting opportunities for career advancement, financial rewards, and impactful work. With the right combination of leadership prowess, commitment to promoting ethics and regulatory compliance, and outstanding interpersonal skills, you’ll be able to carve out a challenging yet fulfilling career as a chief compliance officer. 

Our key takeaways from the different types of compliance jobs

A career in compliance offers a varied and fulfilling path for professionals seeking to navigate the complex landscape of regulatory changes. The roles discussed in this guide - fraud analyst, anti-bribery and corruption officer, money laundering reporting officer, compliance officer, and chief compliance officer - highlight the diverse opportunities within the compliance sector.

Whether you're drawn to the analytical challenges of detecting financial crimes, the strategic role of mitigating corruption risks, or the oversight of organisational compliance, each position requires a distinct skill set. Pursuing relevant academic qualifications, obtaining professional certifications, and gaining hands-on experience are crucial steps toward excelling in these roles.

As the demand for compliance professionals continues to rise globally, job-seekers can expect promising career prospects, competitive compensation, and continuous learning and development opportunities. 

Looking for support from a top compliance recruitment agency?  

From ambitious graduates to highly experienced compliance professionals, we are passionate about helping candidates at all career stages. As one of the UK’s leading compliance recruitment agencies, we have been connecting top talent with compliance jobs throughout the UK, Europe, and the USA since 2007. Our consultants will work closely with you to ensure you land a role aligning with your skills and career goals. 

Reach out to us today to discover more about how we can support you.