Corporate Compliance Insights (CCI) will conduct a global study of stress, mental health and working conditions for compliance officers. Designed in partnership with an independent researcher, the survey is available and will collect responses until September 19. Access it here.
The subject of stress and mental health in the compliance sector is widely discussed but rarely investigated. CCI’s research will cut through anecdotal perspectives and provide a benchmark by focusing on self-reported data on the lived and working conditions of compliance officers in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“There’s this generally accepted notion that the job of a compliance officer is inherently stressful because their key job function — preventing, identifying and mitigating regulatory risk — may put them at odds with leadership or company culture,” said CCI Publisher Sarah Hadden. “Add to that the ever-changing regulatory landscape and the fact that compliance officers can have personal liability for company wrong-doing, and you can see the potential impact on stress or mental health.”
The mental health and stress levels of compliance officers has been assessed once before—by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) in 2012.
Following the passage of The Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the compliance profession exploded. Rice University Professor Thomas Hogan estimates compliance costs in the financial sector rose by $50 billion after it went into effect. Compliance officers also enjoyed strong wage growth in the early 2010s. Reporting on this trend in 2014, the Wall Street Journal wondered if compliance was, in fact, a “dream career.” U.S. News ranks compliance as the #7 best business job, with especially high scores for the job market. But at the same time, compliance received a score of 2 for stress levels – indicating the most stressful score a job can receive.
A range of other voices, however, consider compliance to be a less stressful, better work-life balance option than other careers. The job resource site CareerCast uses Bureau of Labor Statistics data to annually rank occupations by the stress they elicit. The company routinely finds compliance to be among the least stressful positions (#2 in 2019).
The most compelling voices calling for more support for compliance come from the officers themselves. One can find numerous accounts—both anonymous and bylined—of compliance officers struggling to operate in a large corporation in which leadership uses their team as a chaotic, check-the-box, hand-washing function.
The survey is open to any professional working in a compliance function. Access it here. CCI anticipates a release of survey findings in November 2021.
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Founded in 2010, Corporate Compliance Insights is the web’s premier global independent news source for compliance, ethics, risk and information security. Articles are authored by compliance thought leaders and subject matter experts.
Managing Editor, CCI