A Guide to Getting a Career in Risk Management

Risk management within the financial services realm has undergone massive transformations due to the 2007-2008 financial meltdown across the globe. Even now, the impact of that turbulent time can still be seen, particularly among professionals in the risk management industry. In particular, Robert Walters has seen continuous demand when it comes to those seeking risk management assistance at every experience level, and this is true across the Irish financial services landscape. Financial services entities have really come to realize that there is no escaping the need for competent risk management strategies.

Before the financial crisis of 2008, there were not many firms that had a strong grasp of their full risk profile or could anticipate the way in which major world events could negatively affect their organizations. However, now, most understand just how important it is to have comprehensive risk management structures in place rather than assuming that a patchwork approach will suffice. Indeed, financial services enterprises are more frequently putting substantial resources into risk management-specific policy development, tools, and personnel. The end result is that a greater number of young people are looking to the risk management field for their long-term career prospects.

All of the above circumstances suggest that it is highly worthwhile to examine exactly what sorts of career opportunities exist in the realm of risk management, the latest trends in the marketplace and the best way to spot the disciplines within the field that are primed for the greatest growth.

The senior experience levels in risk management are booming, given the perfect storm of natural volumes of attribution due to a hot market, the larger hiring budgets and increased regulatory pressure now in existence.

An initial consideration to bear in mind is that a financial services background is key for anyone looking to break into the risk management field. This is because risk management professionals require analysts who have a firm grip on all types of economic and financial concepts. Also, it is wise for aspiring risk management professionals to seek out a particularly engaging sub-discipline so that they can build a wealth of specialized knowledge that will be attractive to employers. According to BS US, to make things simple, candidates may wish to split risk management disciplines into those pertaining to financial, credit and operational realms.


This discipline involves analysis of credit risks by way of risk and impairment modeling, aspects that have gained increased specialization of late. They tend to require familiarity with programming languages including SQL, SAS, MATLAB and the like. Financial institutions have found it somewhat difficult to locate candidates that have significant financial services expertise, technical know-how and strong abilities with programming languages.



Financial-Related Risk

This discipline has to do with the types of financial instruments and vehicles that present risk to an enterprise. Analysis of markets, interest rates, liquidity and banking book risks will be key to such a role. Risk stemming from four distinct asset categories will be required, namely fixed income, equities, commodities, and currencies. Those well-equipped for such roles tend to be those who hail from investment banking, trading or treasury backgrounds, given the traditional strength of their product understanding.

Operational Risks

Many roles within risk management have to do with the necessity of implementing solid risk management structures. Numerous institutions have moved toward integrating their financial planning, operational and strategic objectives into their operational risk frameworks. Employers have often sought younger candidates who have a firm handle on assurance and business operations in particular. Some use the terms operational risk and enterprise risk in an interchangeable fashion, in that they are both thought to encompass risk management processes meant to spot possible dangers to an entity as well as the structures used to protect against them.

The senior-level risk market has recently seen a significant uptick. Natural levels of attrition commonly seen in robust markets, growing hiring budgets and increased attention from regulators have given rise to this scenario. Domestic as well as international firms have seen growth in their overall ranks and are being asked to foster greater accountability in terms of regulatory schemes. This represents a marked departure from just a few years back when the same enterprises used group-based structures and shared responsibility for regulatory duties across a range of functions.

In the end, a post-meltdown environment requires stringent and sturdy risk management structures. Insurance firms, banks, trading entities, and asset management professionals are all likely to place heightened importance on risk management work. Though it is true that risk management has taken on greater visibility in recent years and younger candidates are leaning toward more specialization, there is likely to be a strong demand for skilled and knowledgeable professionals in every branch of the industry.

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