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How to Grow Your Risk Hiring Potential: A Q&A with Robert Iommazzo

The outlook for career growth in risk management remains robust, despite high interest rates and restructuring at many financial institutions. But what skills, knowledge and experience should aspiring and early-career risk professionals seek out to separate themselves from their peers?

Friday, April 5, 2024

By Dean Essner

While the February jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects a cautious labor market impacted by high interest rates, the hiring outlook in the risk management sector is still strong.

Roughly 425,000 new financial risk specialist jobs will be filled by 2029 – an annual increase of over 1.7% – according to research from Recruiter.com. Moreover, in a March 2024 article, the recruiting website Zippia asserted that risk professionals are in a strong position for fast corporate growth, noting that "risk managers often go on to become vice presidents, chief finance officers or chief finance and operating officers.”

For aspiring and early-career risk managers, however, it isn’t enough to know about today’s hiring outlook. Rather, during this time of professional opportunity, jobseekers must understand which risk management areas are trending, which skills are in demand and the type of experience that hiring managers are seeking.

robert-iommazzoRobert Iommazzo, Global Enterprise Risk and Analytics Practice Leader, ZRG Partners

To learn more risk career trends, as well as the most sought-after skills and experience, we spoke with Robert Iommazzo, the global enterprise risk and analytics practice leader at talent advisory firm ZRG Partners. Iommazzo has more than 20 years of experience in executive search, helping clients recruit leaders in risk management, data analytics,  finance and treasury, and regulatory compliance.

How do you feel about the current hiring outlook across risk management?

While right now a lot of financial institutions are going through restructurings and transformations, this is as good a time as any for people to look for work at the junior level, especially if they have a strong educational degree in finance and/or engineering combined with excellent communication skills.

What are the risk management trends to keep an eye on throughout the balance of 2024?

I think there are several. Geopolitical risk is front and center and on many of our clients’ minds these days. Cyber risk and technology risk are also top-of-mind, as well as asset and liability management (ALM) and treasury risk on the financial risk side.

Strong commercial skills are a must for risk professionals these days, too. This means that it's important to gain more experience on the business side, so that you have a strong sense of your firm’s P&L drivers.

It’s also clear that CROs in banking are becoming more and more strategic, not only to the board but also to the CEO.

Which risk areas should young professionals look to specialize in to increase their hiring potential?

I think there's a continuous need for strong market risk skills, as well as technology risk and IT risk skills. Within the non-financial world of risk management, you've got areas such as operational risk, risk taxonomy and risk assessments that have become essential, too.

I would also say that anything in the modeling sector will be front and center for some time. In addition, credit risk skills, underwriting skills and risk analysis skills are critical for young professionals to learn more about.

What are your preferred methods of upskilling regarding these specializations?

Education is never a bad thing, especially if there's an opportunity to home in on skills with a certification such as the FRM Certification, the PRM and/or the CFA. I would also recommend seeking out any real-life risk business experience, because nothing can beat that.

What steps can early-career risk managers take to separate themselves from their peers?

The key is emphasizing your technical skills, especially if you have earned one of the certifications – like the FRM, PRM or CFA. After you show your financial technical skills, you can also demonstrate knowledge of a specific product or of a financial institution’s industry or sub-industry. Possessing a true understanding of your organization’s P&L drivers is equally important.

Make sure you’re taking advantage of a professional network like the one that GARP offers, too. Get an understanding of what's going on at the chapter level. Find a mentor to help you grow your career and to provide guidance. And ensure you’re getting as much experience in the risk discipline as possible.




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