Corporate Compliance

2010 Compliance Officer Salary Survey Results: Part two

Compliance Monitor, June 9, 2010

This is the second article in a two-part series detailing the results of the Compliance Monitor 2010 Compliance Officer Salary Survey. Click here to read the first article published in last week’s Compliance Monitor.

The majority of compliance officers put in more time than the aggregate 40 hour work week, according to survey results. Approximately 62% of polled compliance officers work between 41 and 50 hours per week, with 19% putting in more than 50 hours of time per week. Seventeen percent work an average of 31–40 hours per week.

Several compliance officers noted that they work a salaried position, which may explain why 85% of respondents do not get paid for overtime work.

Nearly two-thirds of compliance officers (64%) work at facilities that do not offer an incentive plan that rewards outcome and achievement. Five-hundred and eight surveyors claimed eligibility for a bonus; 32% receive an annual bonus based on performance of the organization, and 17% receive a bonus based on individual performance. 

Of our 847 survey participants, 508 received a raise in the last 12 months. Out of the 508, a 3% raise was the most frequent response (32%), while a 2% raise (26%), and a 4% raise (11%) were also common. Approximately 6% of compliance officers received a 5% raise and 5% of the survey field received more than a 10% raise.

For those who did not receive a raise within the last twelve months, 29% noted that they last received a pay increase 13–18 months prior. Additionally, 27% of those tallied received a raise 19–23 months ago. Twenty percent haven’t received a raise in 2-3 years.

Compliance officers also experienced the following reductions in the last twelve months:

  • 56% reported reductions in travel budget
  • 42% reported reductions in continuing education budget
  • 26% reported reductions in meals and entertainment (e.g., holiday parties, department lunches)
  • 25% reported reductions in health coverage
  • 17% reported reductions in their retirement plan match
  • 13% reported reductions to tuition reimbursement
  • 9% reported salary reductions
  • 8% reported pension plan reductions
  • 3% reported hour reductions

Out of the 593 compliance officer’s that work in hospitals, the majority (88%) work in facilities that do not provide the opportunity to advance and receive promotions based on outcomes. The remaining 12% have the opportunity to advance in their hospital.

Survey respondents generally seemed evenly divided in terms of their salary satisfaction. However, a slight majority of compliance officers (56%) do not believe their salary, benefits, bonus, and job perks have kept up with the cost of living. Fifty-one percent believe that, as individuals and as a whole, compliance officers are fairly compensated for their vocational duties.

Many compliance officers said that they wear many hats at their facility. Read on for more on what individual compliance officers had to say:

“A compliance officer job is very stressful and carries a heavy burden. When a hospital fails any survey, the compliance officer is the one who gets the blame. Therefore, he or she should be compensated.”

“Compliance officers are and have been considerably underrated. Compared to the potential fines that could arise out of even one compliance issue, [compliance officers] are definitely under-compensated. A good, competent, and effective [compliance officer’s] value far exceeds that of most C-suite officers, including the CEO.”
“Compliance jobs require a certain level of credentialing and continuing education for the job to be performed effectively. I feel that I would feel more satisfied with my current compensation and salary if I was allowed to get the education and credentialing that I require to develop an effective compliance plan. Given the current economic times, education seems to be the first thing to be frozen in the budget.”

“[Being a compliance officer is a] very stressful position, regardless of location.”
“Compliance officers are seen as overhead, non–revenue–generating people. We are not viewed in terms of the money saved by identifying operational deficiencies that, when corrected, increase revenue. Plus we are not valued for the risk reduction of fines or prison time members of the organization could face by identifying at risk procedures that need to fall into line with current federal, state and local laws.”

“I pay for all my books, magazines, [and] tools for compliance. I also pay for most of my seminars and travel. This reduces my salary by $5,000–$10,000.”

“I feel there is a significant inequity between compensation for males vs. female [compliance officers] regarding compensation.”

“I have a terrific job and work environment. I simply do not feel that the salary of the compliance officer is commensurate with the responsibility or comparable to related jobs within the organization.”

“I feel compliance officers are not justly compensated for having their necks on the line for the compliance of their organizations. The federal government is making it mandatory to follow all state and federal guidelines regardless [of whether] the compliance officer has the staff or resources or authority to implement the guidelines necessary to be compliant. There are many compliance officers that are not a part of senior staff or management. This is truly a sad situation!”

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