So, you want a job in Risk?

The European Market for Risk Jobs


What’s the first thing you need to know about getting a job in risk? Starting with the basics, education is the first step to the career of your risk management or risk analysis dreams with the majority, if not all, employers expecting to see your CV furnished with a BA in a subject related to risk. Business, finance and management are all lucrative options, as well as maths, science and engineering depending on which area of risk you’re intending to get into. There are a number of possibilities because the risk function in itself is broad. That degree will serve as a sufficient key into an entry level role within risk. For those candidates at a more senior level, employers will be expecting to see proven industry experience, such as working for an insurer, broker or other financial services organisation.


That on-the-job experience is critical to those risk professionals looking to advance their career or individuals wanting to make a move from another area of finance into risk. A candidate who has trained for their CPA in accountancy for example, could make a move internally or otherwise into the risk management function. Ultimately the employer wants a candidate who has the academic credentials and one who fits with the culture of their organisation.


Candidates looking at jobs in credit risk or market risk opportunities, must demonstrate the relevant quantitative qualifications as well as a solid grasp of the capital markets. This is where someone skilled in mathematics, science or engineering would be best placed to launch his or her career in risk.


The increasingly popular regulatory risk function, one of the more emerging risks since the 2008 financial crisis and tightening of government standards over business and banking operations, demands a thorough knowledge and understanding of current and emerging regulations and principles likely to impact your organisation. Experience in banking and knowledge of MiFID, EMIR, PSD II and of course the impending EU GDPR directive are all necessary for those applying to risk jobs in London or Europe.


Product risk meanwhile expects a candidate who can apply critical thinking to a variety of complex scenarios. A job in this area of risk requires its proponents to be constantly challenging the process and in turn the business itself in order to ascertain the broader implications before a new product can be introduced onto the market. Product risk jobs need candidates who are discipline and principle oriented, who are confident in expressing complex concepts to a wide audience to ensure the business has considered every aspect before putting a product into the market. Having a mind for financial statements including balance sheets and income statements is another skill that employers are looking for when hiring risk professionals within the financial services sector.


Gaining exposure to all areas of the business will greatly elevate your career in risk. Having an all-round understanding and insight into the different functions that make up your organisation will give you a greater visibility as to the risk appetite and tolerance of the business. So looking at risk jobs within organisations that can offer a global platform from which extend a plethora of opportunities that will rotate you between back, middle and front office functions will help you progress more quickly. For example, JP Morgan offers a very good internal mobility program, while the Big Four also offers a strong launchpad for careers within financial services.


Candidates looking for opportunities in risk should consider insurance firms, mortgage brokers, commercial and investment banks, financial services firms, risk management and consulting companies as well as government departments and industry-wide private and publicly-traded companies. Internships too are a good route in to jobs in risk, and can often lead to full time employment.


Jobs in risk demand individuals who can handle an intense and high pressure working environment, and a job that is full of unpredictability as you strive to constantly work to improve processes and controls within the business while positively challenging key decisions. People skills for handling business stakeholders, members of the board and fellow employees, an eye for detail not only in your reports and recommendations but in terms of being aware of what is happening in your company, the industry and sector at large and worldwide competitors, and being able to strategise on effective ways of mitigating your firm’s risk all make for a stellar risk professional.

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