Operational Risk Salary Guide 2018

22/06/2018By Gail Danvers
What could you earn as an Operational Risk professional? Are you paying your staff a competitive salary? The 2018 psd Operational Risk Salary Report, in partnership with the Institute of Operational Risk Management, reveals salaries, benefits and trends, and looks at the current recruitment landscape within Operational Risk.
operational risk professionals

The 2018 Operational Risk Salary Report specifically analyses salaries, benefits and trends relating to work satisfaction for Operational Risk professionals in permanent positions, working within the Banking sector in London. The respondents worked for Retail, Investment and Commercial Banks of varying sizes.

Market Summary

Operational Risk continues to develop as a profession. Banks increasingly  invest more in people, processes and systems in order to capture, manage and mitigate operational risk more efficiently and effectively.

Overall the recruitment landscape for the Operational Risk profession has been fairly static throughout the last quarter of 2017 and the first 6 months of 2018, particularly for traditional 2nd line Operational Risk roles. We have witnessed an increase in hiring for 1st line Risk professionals with a slight reduction in the size of 2nd line teams. The areas that have shown an increased demand for risk professionals have been linked to cyber and digital, and more broadly, candidates with technology expertise.


Operational Risk is a well-paid profession.  Those within this profession have the opportunity to grow their salaries quite substantially by increasing their experience and seniority.

Retail Banking has traditionally been the lowest paid sub-sector and Investment Banking the highest. This explains some of the wide ranging salaries below, in particular the VP banding. There is also a very wide salary range in the CRO bracket, which is due to the size of the Bank and type of business – the higher the risk, the higher the salaries.

Salary increases overall were very low for 2017, with most respondents receiving no raise or up to 5% for the last year. At Analyst level, most reported an increase of 1% to 5% in contrast to the CRO’s who reported no increase. This is likely to be due to the spiralling cost of regulation in 2017 and 2018, with Banks having to spend significantly to meet the ring – fencing requirements, Senior Manager Regime, Mifid 2, and GDPR. Interestingly whilst salary increases were low, 56.52% of the respondents reported feeling fairly paid, whilst 26.90% said they felt unfairly paid and 17.39% were unsure.

operational risk salary


There was very little change in the amount of bonus paid to risk professionals from 2016 to 2017.  In 2017 the number of respondents not receiving a bonus dropped, and most respondents received a bonus of between 10% and 20%.  The next highest bracket for bonuses in 2017 was 20% to 30%.

operational risk bonus

Additional Benefits, External Training and Pension

The most common benefits were shown to be Healthcare, Death in Service and Life Insurance, all of which are very traditional benefits that exist to support employees when life takes a turn for the worse.  In recent years however, there has been more discussion around “life enhancing” benefits, and the survey demonstrates that these are growing in popularity amongst employers.  A number of respondents receive childcare vouchers, season ticket loans, discounted shopping, bike to work schemes, gym memberships and lunch vouchers.

The results suggest that there isn’t much appetite for providing employees with a financial contribution to further their education, with only 9% of respondents having received any financial support. The number of respondents that completed external training courses was equally quite low with only 8.7% reporting to have received support from their employer to attend any external training courses.

The survey shows that pension contributions vary greatly across the profession, averaging between 5% and 15%. 6.5% of respondents receive less than 5 % and a very lucky 2.2% receive over 20%.  Car allowances are still a very popular financial benefit, with 44% of respondents receiving this benefit.

The results of the survey show that Operational Risk is a well-paid profession. However, the survey does show that salary increases remained low in 2017 and bonuses static, suggesting a cooling off in the market.  There also appears to be limited financial support from employers for further education and external training, although the demand for qualifications and courses in Operational Risk have grown significantly.


At psd we have been recruiting Board, Senior Management and Executive Director Level within the Banking & Financial Services sector for a number of years. Our team of highly experienced recruitment consultants have an exceptional knowledge of the Banking & Financial Services sector and a strong network of candidates, with track records of achievement in this and allied sectors.  We recruit across the whole of the UK and work on both permanent and interim roles and operate in most functional disciplines.

Gail Danvers was instrumental in setting up the Banking & Financial Services practice at psd, and has 18 years of experience recruiting into senior Risk & Governance roles. We would be happy to meet at your convenience to discuss your recruitment requirements and are happy to offer knowledge on salary expectations, general market intelligence, and other recruitment queries.

This survey was completed in June 2018 and is based on the answers of 146 Operational Risk professionals within the Banking sector in London.

About the author

Gail Danvers


Gail leads psd's rapidly expanding Banking & Financial Services and Risk & Compliance capabilities. She specialises in Executive, Non-Executive and Director appointments and has an excellent track record of delivering on CRO, COO and CFO appointments, working both with Big Four and global institutions, as well as the growing fintech sector.