Salaries for the compliance sector in Northern Ireland continue to perform strongly in the face of uncertainties presented by the UK’s exit from the European Union, reveals a regional Salary Survey Report from Abacus Professional Recruitment released this week.

Ongoing inward investments to NI have boosted the local economy and resulted in the growth and diversity of job roles. Enhanced remuneration packages within both FDI firms and home-grown businesses also continue to increase the attractiveness of the region to live and work for both local job seekers and the diaspora community.

Salary survey data from 50 respondents working across a variety of professional roles in the compliance sector indicates continued market growth in 2016. Roles surveyed include head of compliance, compliance officer/manager and compliance analyst.

The results indicated that 62% of those working in the compliance sector received a pay increase in 2016 – 33% of heads of compliance, 75% of compliance officer/managers and 61% of compliance analysts.

Furthermore, 74% of all respondents in this segment received a bonus in 2016, with the survey also highlighting that employers offer entry level positions to business, finance and law graduates.

Expectations are very high in the compliance sector with 92% of all respondents expecting a salary increase in 2017. This correlates with recent planned job announcements and the increasing market demand for their skills.

Benefit packages in the compliance sector were generous with 88% of respondents receiving pension contributions, 74% receiving bonuses and 70% receiving flexible work hours. Overall, the compliance sector offers the joint top best blend of benefits from the survey at 60%.

Average salaries for respondents within compliance ranged from £22,390 for a compliance analyst, £36,543 for a compliance officer/manager and £67,166 for a head of compliance working in Northern Ireland.

The survey was undertaken by leading local professional services recruitment company, Abacus Professional Recruitment. Director Justin Rush said: “This is one of the broadest ever surveys we have undertaken of the compliance sector in Northern Ireland. It highlights that these markets remain resilient in NI. Total compensation packages including salary increases and benefits continue to perform strongly. This is on the back of continued foreign direct investment from some of the world’s leading companies.

“Northern Ireland is seen as a favourable location for ‘near-shoring’ with employers offering entry level positions to business related and law graduates. For any graduate looking for a job in the compliance sector, there are many skills in demand but the main ones that stand out on your CV are KYC, AML and banking reconciliation, both retail but more so investment, according to our research.

“The results also reflect a positive progress in the Northern Ireland professional services sector with regards to the diaspora in relation to increasingly diverse opportunities, competitive salaries and benefits. However attracting returners from the national and international labour pool remains a key challenge.”

Director Alan Braithwaite added: “Alongside organisations including InvestNI and over 20 global companies involved in our ‘Belfast for Life’ diaspora initiative, we have significantly invested in efforts to encourage professionals to return home to take up opportunities here.  With lifestyle often the key consideration, the expansion of professional roles being offered, alongside improved salaries and benefits, is enabling great progress in tackling the so-called ‘brain drain’. Another area that needs to remain a focus is the continuation of investment in higher education. We must encourage our students to complete their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Northern Ireland.

“As the post-referendum picture and economic situation in NI continues to evolve, it is more important than ever that we showcase the attractiveness of Northern Ireland. Feedback from clients who have invested in NI in recent years has indicated a positive experience with recruiting employees from across the EU and they are keen to ensure the flow of suitably qualified candidates in the future.”

Abacus’ multi-award winning ‘Belfast for Life’ campaign encourages leavers to ‘bring your talent home’ and is supported by many of NI’s most successful local companies and international inward investors, including Allen & Overy, EY and Herbert Smith Freehills. Over the past 2 years, the initiative has successfully engaged with over 2000 highly skilled professionals to promote the attractiveness of NI to live and work.