What skill sets may risk managers need in the future that some of them don’t possess now?

Some companies have indicated that they are prepared to invest more in establishing their risk management team. What should they be looking for and what skill sets may risk managers need in the future that some of them don’t possess now?

Julia Graham, outgoing chair of AIRMIC and chief risk officer, DLA Piper LLP: ‘Get a sponsor who is interested in the subject and who will give you support. It may be the company chairman but in any event it definitely needs to be somebody on the board or with access to it who talks the same language and can help open doors.

‘That sponsor will also help you to keep relevant and on the right track. This is important when you do risk management as a job. You have to remember that it’s not the end to the means but part of the wider picture.

‘Step back and take the time to understand what your organisation is all about. One of the biggest lessons I learnt when moving from my previous employer to working within the legal profession was that there were huge differences in things like the structure and the culture. You have to understand the business culture of the sector that you’re in, how your business compares to others in this sector, and what its own individual culture is about. If you can do that, risk management can be a career as it’s not so difficult to switch ships and progress.

‘When you understand your business, you have to recognise that you’re part of it. Risk management is not an add-on but just like the other types of management within the business. Find the best way of embedding what you do in your business and work out who and where the key stakeholders are and how to engage with them.

‘Demonstrate your value. It is not easy but you do need to provide evidence that what you are doing is adding value rather than detracting. For example, I created a total cost of risk model for my firm so that I could show them that they were getting a good return on investment.’