A 9% increase in jobs for this sector of the economy since 2009? The promise of steady growth in the years to come? An average annual salary of $65,000?
Mothers, dads — forget law school. Forget medical school. Forget culinary school. Steer your child into the exciting career of…of…
Regulation Compliance Officer.
“Staff to track compliance issues is on the rise, and it has been for the last several years,” said Richard Riese, senior vice president for regulatory compliance at the American Bankers Association. “And, at the moment, there’s no prospect it will decrease anytime soon.”
Data kept by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows an 18-percent increase in the number of compliance officers in the United States between 2009 and 2012, according to an analysis conducted by the conservative American Action Forum (AAF).
At last count, there were an estimated 227,500 compliance officers employed in the United States, according to the BLS. The bureau defines a compliance officer as an employee responsible for evaluating conformity with laws and regulations.
The agency estimates do not include professions like bank examiners, tax collectors, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors that are tasked to monitor companies for fraud and safety violations.
Compliance officers make an average of just under $65,000 annually, a gross national labor cost of roughly $14.7 billion, according to the BLS data.
Reform advocates say it is a worthwhile expense, arguing that the private sector was left without proper oversight for too long.
Compliance staff should work like internal police officers, they say, to make sure companies are complying with the letter of the law. But they note that compliance officers should also be held accountable if their firms break the rules.
“Yes, we need more compliance officers, but we need them to be more than window dressing,” said Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate with Public Citizen.
But for small firms without the resources to hire their own full-time compliance staff, adapting to new regulations can be an expensive proposition, said Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy for AAF.
“A large volume of rules can also lead firms to be primarily concerned with adhering to their requirements rather than with innovating, lest they run afoul of the regulations,” Batkins wrote in the group’s analysis of the BLS data.
To Naylor of Public Citizen, those complaints are “just hype of the banking industry that doesn’t like the law. And frankly it’s not even the law; they don’t like the law being enforced.”
Yeah — screw small businesses. If they can’t find the money to hire an army of compliance personnel, let them fail. After all, it’s just “hype” that regulations cost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars a year in compliance costs.
Note to Bart: As of 2011, there were 445,000 pages of federal regulations governing every imaginable aspect of business. The Code of Federal Regulations takes up more than 25 feet of shelf space.
In 1925, the CFR was contained in one volume.
It is moronic to say “that the private sector was left without proper oversight for too long.” It’s akin to another liberal trope about “unfettered capitalism.” The reality of the crushing burden of regulations — $1.75 trillion as of 2011 — appears to escape the “reality based community.”
Courtesy of Forbes, this is a partial list of regulations that small businesses must comply with:
Federal Workplace Regulation Affecting Growing Businesses
Assumes nonunion, nongovernment contractor, with interstate operations and a basic employee benefits package. Includes general workforce-related regulation only; omitted are (a) categories such as environmental and consumer product safety regulations and (b) regulations applying to specific types of businesses, such as mining, farming, trucking or financial firms.
Fair Labor Standards Act (overtime and minimum wage [27 percent minimum wage increase since 1990])
Social Security matching and deposits
Medicare, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)
Military Selective Service Act (90 days leave for reservists; rehiring of discharged veterans)
Equal Pay Act (no sex discrimination in wages)
Immigration Reform Act (eligibility must be documented)
Federal Unemployment Tax Act (unemployment compensation)
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (standards for pension and benefit plans)
Occupational Safety and Health Act
Polygraph Protection Act
4 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
Immigration Reform Act (no discrimination with regard to national origin, citizenship, or intention to obtain citizenship)
15 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
Civil Rights Act Title VII (no discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, or sex; pregnancy-related protections; record keeping)
Americans with Disabilities Act (no discrimination, reasonable accommodations)
20 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
Age Discrimination Act (no discrimination on the basis of age against those 40 and older)
Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (benefits for older workers must be commensurate with younger workers)
Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) (continuation of medical benefits for up to 18 months upon termination)
25 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
Health Maintenance Organization Act (HMO Option required)
Veterans’ Reemployment Act (reemployment for persons returning from active, reserve, or National Guard duty)
50 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
Family and Medical Leave Act (12 weeks unpaid leave or care for newborn or ill family member)
100 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
WARN Act (60-days written plant closing notice)—Civil Rights Act (annual EEO-1 form)
Yes — just what we need. More oversight.
It should be pointed out that the above list does not include state regulations, oftentimes more burdensome than their federal cousins.
Is it any wonder that one of the only bright spots in the jobs market is in the compliance field?