International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Ethics & Compliance: The Game-Changer in the Business World
Dr. Arthur Gross-Schaefer, Cathleen A. Cueto, MBA

In the last several years following the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has struggled to create jobs. This began as a prominent concern in the financial services sector, but as the economy continued to decline, the unemployment rate increased and financial uncertainty infiltrated almost every industry imaginable. Big corporations and brick and mortar shops alike were affected and many businesses did not survive the turmoil. While the causes of the Great Recession have garnered attention, a less explored topic is the individual roles within businesses that surged during this economic downturn. With growth and profitability at the forefront of any business model, a focus on hiring only the best talent will not only support but also enhance the company’s profits and secure long-term success. However, government regulation tightened as a result of the Great Recession and the hefty fines and penalties that followed pressured companies to realign their goals and place ethics and compliance ahead of growth and profits. This feat entailed hiring individuals who could specifically focus their efforts on ensuring that companies were meeting the minimum requirements as dictated by the new government regulations. In order to stay abreast and enforce these laws and regulations, business managers had to implement new policies and practices to move their businesses forward. Banks were under heightened scrutiny, but essentially all companies had to turn their attention to ethics and compliance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, in the third quarter of 2013, the U.S. unemployment rate for compliance professionals was 5.7% compared to the overall jobless rate of 7.2% in the same period. In fact, not only did companies begin hiring more compliance professionals, but companies also started to compensate compliance professionals at a higher level. They also reported that salaries for compliance professionals have been rising by an average of more than 3.5% since 2011 and were expected to rise 3.7% in 2014.The data reported was compiled by human resources consulting firm Robert Half International, Inc., which found that at a large company, a chief compliance officer could expect to earn from $162,000 to $232,000 in 2014.Although salaries at small and midsize companies tend to be slightly lower, Robert Half International stated that the rate of increase is nearly identical to that of large corporations. “The regulatory environment in the U.S. is driving the hiring and the outlook is very bright for anyone entering into compliance as a career,” said Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half International. It takes a lot of time and effort to meet all of the regulatory burdens placed on businesses. The upside is that companies need staff now and in future years in order to carry out these strict requirements and ensure compliance within all departments of a business. This is perhaps the reason why the role of the compliance officer has been growing in prominence and compensation for the past few years.1Since government regulations tend to be industry-specific, companies are looking to hire individuals who have a history of understanding and implementing necessary policies, but who also possess a certain degree of expertise in each particular industry.

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