2018 internal audit salary guide showing the strengthening of audit departments preparing for changes in capital adequacy requirements.
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As with the previous few years, the demand for internal auditors remained high across all sectors, most notably within the big universal banks where we have seen a 16% increase in jobs becoming available compared year on year with 2016.
The past year has been dominated by hiring in the British banks, as top heavy departments are being reinforced with junior/AVP hires - in turn creating greater responsibility for existing VPs to lead and manage. As anticipated, attracting recently qualified accountants into the internal audit discipline proved to be a big challenge, yet more experienced internal auditors now see it as a wise career choice. Generally speaking, the skills associated with these roles are internationally transferable, so we do see candidates arriving from abroad to address local shortfalls in talent.
In response to the large hiring drives by the British banks, there are now obvious moves from the European and US banks to replace those auditors who have taken the opportunity to move into these British institutions. Risk and regulatory audit teams are continuing to grow within the financial services as banks, asset managers and insurance houses look to bolster their audit departments gearing towards changes in capital adequacy requirements. Quant and risk skills continue to be in demand, with a majority of the roles being filled by non-auditors coming in.
Overall, the market remains busy up to VP level, but there appears to be fewer director level hires as internal promotions are certainly the preferred option. The current focus within IT audit has been on finding generalist auditors rather than specific to applications or infrastructure. This has been particularly noticeable at the AVP level where a more generalist approach enables candidates from practice to develop a more thematic audit skill set and gain broader exposure.
At the senior end, the emphasis is still on finding non audit professionals to move into the third line. Such profiles provide both SME knowledge and a strategic approach to the ever evolving technology space. This, in turn, helps to reduce any knowledge gaps within technology audit.
In recent times, internal audit roles have afforded a lot of opportunity to candidates wanting to move into other areas of the business. With the control awareness and analytical mindsets they possess, auditors are able to provide huge commercial value to the wider business. Internal audit remains an excellent training ground for future business leaders. As such, our clients are now looking for candidates who are more forward-thinking and hungry to both progress and add value.
Whilst money will always be a determining factor, opportunities for progression rank high on the list of factors that job seekers consider when assessing potential employers. Candidates want to know that they can continue to learn, develop and ultimately move onto better things. Employers that want to attract the best talent should, therefore, clearly demonstrate potential career pathways for new starters, providing tangible examples of routes that other employees have taken. Likewise, continued training and investment in professional qualifications is important. For overseas candidates, the opportunity to study for the ACA/ACCA is a big draw and businesses should be willing to invest in this.
Within IT audit, the most important qualification remains CISA. It shows employers that the job seeker has a fundamental understanding of IT risk and controls. However, for more technical SME roles (like infrastructure and cyber) greater value is attributed to candidates that hold CISSP, CRISC and CISM qualifications. For change management audit positions, a PRINCE2 practitioner qualification alongside project management experience demonstrates that the job seeker has an excellent understanding of the change management cycle. A relevant masters degree can also go a long way to showing deeper experience and understanding of a particular area.
Diversity still remains a hot topic across internal audit with businesses trying to address the gender imbalance. This is perhaps most notable within IT audit – historically a very male dominated profession. The past couple of years have seen the gender split narrow from a male to female ratio of 4:1 to almost 3:2. Indeed, there are now a number of high profile women in senior leadership roles within technology audit across the banking sector.