Risk managers work with companies to assess and identify the potential risks that may hinder the reputation, safety, security and financial prosperity of their organization.
Once these risks have been identified, assessed and evaluated, risk managers are then tasked with implementing processes and procedures to ensure that their client is fully prepared to deal with any potential threats.
A risk manager’s job is inspired by the mantra, “prevention is better than cure.” It’s all about avoiding threats and mitigating the effects of those which are essentially unavoidable.
Employers of risk managers
Risk managers are employed in the public sector and in private organizations. Some small organizations carry out risk management duties in the finance or operations departments.
Employers of risk managers include:
- charities and commercial businesses;
- energy and utilities companies;
- engineering and construction companies;
- insurance companies;
- local authorities.
- planning, designing and implementing an overall risk management process for the organization;
- risk assessment, which involves analyzing risks as well as identifying, describing and estimating the risks affecting the business;
- risk evaluation, which involves comparing estimated risks with criteria established by the organization such as costs, legal requirements and environmental factors, and evaluating the organization’s previous handling of risks;
- establishing and quantifying the organization’s ‘risk appetite’, i.e. the level of risk they are prepared to accept;
- risk reporting in an appropriate way for different audiences, for example, to the board of directors so they understand the most significant risks, to business heads to ensure they are aware of risks relevant to their parts of the business and to individuals to understand their accountability for individual risks;
- corporate governance involving external risk reporting to stakeholders;
- carrying out processes such as purchasing insurance, implementing health and safety measures and making business continuity plans to limit risks and prepare for if things go wrong;
- conducting audits of policy and compliance to standards, including liaison with internal and external auditors;
- providing support, education and training to staff to build risk awareness within the organization.
Theoretically, you could work your way up the career ladder from an administrative position without going to university. However, if you want to break into the world of risk management much faster, you’ll need to obtain a strong undergraduate degree.
It doesn’t matter which subject you study, but it may help your chances if you do a course relating to business or commerce in some way, such as economics, business studies, law, engineering or financial management.
You could even do a degree in risk management. This will understandably help you to stand out from candidates that have done a less relevant degree. Another way of boosting your employability is to do a postgraduate degree in risk management.
- technical acumen;
- problem-solving and decision-making abilities;
- analytical skills and a good eye for detail;
- the ability to cope under pressure;
- planning and organization skills;
- negotiation skills and the ability to influence people;
- good communication and presentation skills;
- commercial awareness;
- numerical skills and the ability to evaluate costs;
- the ability to understand broad business issues.