Our guide to attracting and retaining top Compliance and FinCrime talent in 2024

4 mins

Times are tricky for lots of organisations right now. No matter what industry you’re in, no ...

Times are tricky for lots of organisations right now. No matter what industry you’re in, no company is exempt from their fair share of challenges. 

There are cyber incidents, business interruption and supply chain disruption to contend with. And if you’re in particularly volatile markets, chances are you’re experiencing tougher times than most.

Instability in any business leads to increased turnover, bonuses not being paid out, management leaving and subsequent overwork. And these kinds of issues make it increasingly difficult for organisations to attract and retain top talent. 

Add to the list of challenges a rise in compliance regulations, and it’s no wonder there’s a current surge in demand for Compliance and Financial Crime (FinCrime) talent.

So, how do you find (and retain) the best? It’s important you’re standing out from the competition. That’s why we’ve created this blog post, where we’ll discuss various strategies that firms in any sector can implement to attract and retain top Compliance and FinCrime talent.

Address the mid-level talent shortage 

First things first, let’s address the mid-level talent shortage. Deloitte reported in 2022 that finding finance talent is getting harder, with 82% of big employers admitting they’re struggling.

With organisations across the board competing for talent, it’s important to review your attraction and retention strategies. Techniques are no different in Compliance and Financial Crime to any other specialist field.

Start by assessing your training and development programs and ensure you’re offering plenty of opportunities for growth within your organisation. This is key to keeping entry-level talent with you, and plugging those mid-level gaps, as opposed to employees looking elsewhere for developmental openings.

Your salary and benefits packages should also be competitive. Review them regularly and benchmark against other similar companies to ensure you’re offering at least the same and are a consideration for top talent. Not sure where to start? Have a look at our blog on salary benchmarking.

If you’re a financial services organisation (but not necessarily a traditional bank), it’s particularly important to up your hiring game! If you’re unable to compete financially, you’ll struggle to attract, and retain, banking talent and take your business forward.

Emphasise growth in your Compliance department

Want to get Compliance and FinCrime professionals excited about working for you? It helps to shout about what the future of your business, and specifically the compliance department, looks like.

Often, we find that certain job descriptions can be a little too niche, and candidates are generally looking for exposure to lots of different areas (like first and second lines of defence). By widening the Compliance and FinCrime roles within your organisation, you’ll build a robust team of specialists. When new regulations are announced, there’s less reason to panic as you’ll already have a versatile team in place. You’ll avoid having to bring in more specialists, saving you both time and money.

So, when advertising for and interviewing staff, keep that in mind. Make sure you’re highlighting all the opportunities on offer, so candidates know they’ll cover lots of different areas within their role. Explain in depth the kinds of projects they’ll be involved in and what they’ll be exposed to as part of your thriving compliance department. And remember to get advocates from your current team involved in the hiring process - letting them speak with potential candidates can be hugely beneficial for both parties.

Widen your pool

Are you casting your net wide enough when looking for Compliance and FinCrime talent?

Firstly, are you targeting candidates with transferable skills? Don’t overlook individuals with audit, risk, or legal backgrounds that could be a great fit for your Compliance and FinCrime department. Multi-skilled employees are versatile and can save cost and time when new regulations come in.

But also look to locations outside of your own. Remote working options are now everywhere - more on that in our section on flexibility below.

Have you considered offering relocation packages? This is already a common practice in the banking world, but if you’re an organisation that wouldn’t normally consider this tactic, it’s essential you do. Relocating employees could open you up to the very best Compliance and FinCrime talent, no matter where they’re based currently. Even if individuals don’t have experience in local regulations, this is something that can easily be taught. Good compliance and/or FinCrime experience is more important, and you could potentially be missing out on outstanding candidates if you confine your search to your locality.

Address the language shortage

Many organisations struggle to hire top candidates due to language barriers. For instance, you might require a native German speaker, which is generally challenging to find. Languages including Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic are also in growing demand within the business world.

Yet, a report by the University of Wales found that around 25% of export companies in England and Wales, for example, had lost business due to language or cultural deficiencies. Can you afford to be part of this statistic?

This issue can be addressed by offering language courses to existing employees or hiring employees who are flexible and willing to acquire new language skills. Don’t automatically discount a candidate because their language skills aren’t there just yet – developing those skills once they’re on board may be a great solution.

And what about considering candidates who lack some skills, but do have an additional language? Offering supplementary skills to someone willing to learn, who already ticks the language box could also be a viable option. Remember, additional training opportunities are very attractive to new hires too. Training staff up in a foreign language or other areas could be a win-win solution.

Streamline your hiring process

Lengthy hiring processes can be intimidating and off-putting for potential candidates, and deter them from pursuing job opportunities with you. In fact, three-quarters of people say they’d drop out of an unnecessarily lengthy recruitment process. That’s why we recommend streamlining your hiring process by reducing the number of stages.

Consider who’ll be part of the hiring process too. When interviewing, candidates are often only seen by a Chief Compliance Officer and HR representative, but by including mid-level people as well you can make your hiring process more efficient. Not only will this save time and reduce the number of meetings required, but it can also help to provide candidates with greater insight into the team - and your team with an introduction to the applicant – helping with the decision as to whether they’re a good fit.

Want help creating an effective recruitment process? At Apollo Solutions, we’re helping our clients to do this every day. Let’s work together on developing your most streamlined, successful process yet. Want to find out more now? Have a look at our blog on nailing the candidate experience.

Promote diversity

According to a report by PwC, more work is needed to make diversity a reality within many organisations, especially in financial services. Almost three-quarters of the female millennials working in financial services believe that their organisations talk about diversity, but opportunities are not equal for all.

But did you know that organisations encouraging diversity will significantly increase employee satisfaction levels? 81% of employees who believe they work in an inclusive environment describe feeling happy in their jobs. And research suggests that diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets.

Howard Fields, who heads up Mastercard’s AML, Trade Sanctions, and Export Controls Compliance Group, stated in an article for ACAMS Today:

“Fundamentally, a cross-cultural AFC [anti-financial crime] team is one that comes prepared with a wealth of ideas and experiences that can be turned into practical applica­tions for their institution’s risk management goals…I could not imagine running my compliance team without a deeply diverse staff with global experiences…My team has been able to identify suspicious activity based on their understanding of cultural behavioral patterns.”

The knock-on effect of diversity in your organisation? Improved attraction and retention rates. Hold on to those valuable Compliance and FinCrime professionals, plus attract new ones, through living and breathing a diverse and inclusive culture.

Offer flexibility

Three quarters of employers now offer hybrid working through a mix of formal and informal arrangements. And a staggering 93% of non-workers would prefer to get a role with flexible working options.

So, chances are if you’re not providing your staff with options for remote working, and/or flexible hours, you could be missing out on top talent.

There’s no doubt that implementing a hybrid working model will benefit most firms. Being adaptive to modern working options can help to attract the type of talent that’s looking for a less traditional working arrangement – and if you’re open to remote working, you’ll substantially expand your talent pool. Additionally, you’ll create a happier workforce that’s more likely to stay with you for the long-term. Looking to attract and retain working parents specifically? Have a look at our blog on supporting parents to excel at work.


In summary, retaining and attracting Compliance and FinCrime talent can be challenging, especially within today’s turbulent market. But remember, it is possible. 

It’s about understanding the market, but also being proactive, creating attractive salary and benefits packages, and streamlining your hiring process. Prioritise and encourage diversity and flexibility in your workplace. And reassure candidates your business has endless professional opportunities and is a great place to work. 

Do you want help positioning yourself as a leading employer of choice? From useful market insights for keeping you ahead, to end-to-end strategies for finding and attracting Compliance and FinTech talent - drop us a line to find out more about how our experts at Apollo Solutions can help.

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