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Skills, Education Buoy Internal Audit Salaries – Survey

IIA benchmarking study suggests shifting demands for internal auditing skills

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2015) — The internal audit profession may be sharpening its focus on in-demand skills, a new salary survey by the Audit Executive Center (AEC) at The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) revealed. Survey participants reported significant changes in compensation levels for internal auditors with specific types of education and training.

The annual survey, the profession’s most comprehensive compensation study, indicates a strong correlation between higher internal audit salaries and experience, education, and professional certifications. Overall, salary increases were modest though consistent across the profession, the survey found. This is consistent with general salary trends reported by WorldatWork, and the Economic Research Institute.

Higher levels of education translate to higher pay. According to the survey, internal auditors who hold a master’s degree earn 13 percent more than those with a bachelor’s. And those attaining a professional certification, such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), earn 43 percent more than non-certified colleagues. The highest median salary was associated with the Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA); however, only 7 percent of auditors were reported to hold this relatively new certification.

Surprisingly, pay for staff-level information technology auditors fell more than 9 percent in the past year. But IT auditors with higher skill levels are still in demand: Median pay for auditors holding the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) went up more than 4 percent.

In-depth technical knowledge is in demand, but breadth of knowledge also translates to higher pay. Auditors in the United States with expertise in such areas as fraud/forensic auditing, IT, or environmental auditing, receive significantly more pay than those who perform only financial and operational audits, and each additional area of expertise increased salaries by about $9,700, according to the survey.

“Findings of The IIA’s annual compensation study show that continuing education and training are invaluable assets for internal auditors,” said IIA Board Chairman Larry Harrington, CIA, QIAL, CRMA. “The study offers key benchmarking information about salaries and important insight in terms of both internal audit’s value to organizations and which specializations are most in demand. The information is crucial both for those doing the hiring and for internal auditors navigating significant changes in expectations and demands on the internal audit function.”

The study, which analyzed salary data of 1,589 internal auditors employed at 248 organizations in the United States and Canada, found median salaries generally holding steady or dropping slightly during the past year. With inflation at less than 1 percent, flat salaries were not surprising.

An informational webinar on the compensation study is planned for later this year. The full, comprehensive report is through The IIA Research Foundation Bookstore.