Risk and Compliance APAC Salary Survey Results: How Does Australia Compare?

Maria Konstantinou
May 11, 20154 mins read

We asked our Asia-Pacific network of risk and compliance professionals to take part in a salary survey. Our recruiters across APAC discussed the results, summarised below.

Managing Director of Morgan McKinley Mainland China, Rio Goh stated that across their key recruitment disciplines (Risk & Compliance included) – “82% of Mainland China’s professionals have seen their annual salaries increase” with 35% reporting an increase between 5%-8%.

A talent shortage has been recognised with a predicted “high demand for Risk and Compliance professionals due to the ever changing regulatory environment. Banks and other financial institutions will continue to offer their clients more products and services as the regulatory landscape further evolves. As part of this development, Risk and Compliance individuals will be offered more opportunities for career advancement”. 

In Hong Kong, we are seeing a 15% - 30% increase of basic salary amounts, however the “total compensation for Risk, Legal and Compliance will be flat or down in comparison to the previous year.” Richie Holliday, who heads our Hong Kong office states, whilst hiring was very active in this discipline, “revenues at most banks decreased across Asia, which will impact the bonus pool for 2015". 

Areas in demand are echoed here in Australia with AML/Financial Crime taking top spot. Other areas such as Investment and Private Banking Compliance and Regulatory Compliance were also reported as highly sought after in the Hong Kong market.

Interestingly, contract rates are booming with a “20% increment for 6-12 month contracts in 2014”. Contract roles are becoming increasingly more attractive to candidates who are looking to gain experience in a different industry or sector.

Lionel Kaidatzis is the Managing Director of Morgan McKinley Japan. He also reported that 60% of permanent employees who responded to the survey received an increase in their salary. Most of these have been relatively moderate uplifts of within 1% - 8%. “This is a result of companies continuing to be under tight constraints when it comes to budgets and headcount. However, in-demand professionals with the right skills and experience can command larger increases in salary”. 

In terms of bonus payments – 77% of people are expecting a bonus, however payments remain flat. Again, Japan is experiencing contract market growth with businesses choosing this option to onboard staff faster and offer immediate solution to short term needs. 

Singapore reported 73% increase in salary for permanent staff with very mixed amounts. Most reported an increase of 1% - 8%, however, a “significant proportion of professionals (19%) report a salary increment of more than 13%”. 

“Audit, regulatory, Risk, and Compliance professionals have been high in demand and are limited in supply”. These individuals have seen the largest salary increases (compared to the other disciplines Morgan McKinley recruits in Singapore). 

Andrew Evans, the COO South Asia and Managing Director Morgan McKinley Singapore states that “Most banks have been conservative, paying above market for exceptional professional performances or within high demand disciplines. Early indications are that American banks and local Singaporean houses in the financial services sector are remunerating better than their European counterparts”. 
When asked about the increasing trend of contracting seen elsewhere in Asia, Andrew confirmed that Singapore is no different with contracting numbers growing steadily. 
In Australia, Kate Boniface and I spoke of the top ‘in-demand’ contracting skills as being Risk Projects or Change Management experience, AML, Dodd Frank, Institutional Banking, Controls Assurance, Systems Implementation, Digitalisation, Retail Banking - Risk & Controls, and Regulatory Affairs.  We have seen an increased demand for Risk and Compliance contractors and more interest from candidates wanting to explore further. 

More broadly, when looking at salaries across the board, we saw some small increases (1% - 4% across the majority), but 28% had their salary remain the same. “The global economy in general has improved, but companies still seem squeezed by cost constraints” – Louise Langridge and Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg, Joint Managing Directors of Morgan McKinley Australia. 

Of those who did receive a pay rise – 33% claimed to have received an increase in excess of 13%. 

Cash bonuses across Risk and Compliance have been well received across the banks in particular along with opportunity for flexibility in the work place. Professionals are expressing the importance of work life balance and have been rating this highly when considering job satisfaction and pay. In some cases, Risk and Compliance professionals in Australia are willing to take a pay cut in order to gain better flexibility at work. 

The full salary survey reports can be accessed here:
Salary Guide Australia 2015 | Salary Guide Hong Kong 2015 | Salary Guide Japan 2015 | Salary Guide Mainland China 2015 | Salary Guide Singapore 2015

However please do not hesitate to contact myself or Kate Boniface for any further information. 

Maria Konstantinou's picture
Business Manager | Risk & Compliance


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