Risk managers are responsible for managing threats to businesses. These threats can come in the form of lawsuits, excess taxes or costs, or employee relations. Risk managers are trained to minimize risk by making recommendations to companies for best practices. They are also trained to deal with risk situations as they arise, taking the burden from company management for dealing with problems.
What Do Risk Managers Do?
Risk managers are ultimately responsible to company management for identifying and measuring risks and making recommendations as to how to handle those risks. In this litigious age, companies are concerned about the possibility of liability exposure as well as their corporate image with the public. When problems arise, it is up a risk manager to work with the company management and public relations specialists to minimize the damage.
However, good risk managers know that prevention is preferable to damage control. Therefore, they work hard to minimize risk in the first place.
A risk manager must have a high level of ability in critical decision making and meeting deadlines. A risk manager must also have strong skills in leadership and communicating with others. Most risk managers have strong organizational skills and read and write well.
Risk managers are often asked to work as part of a team with other executives, managers and professionals. A risk manager might meet regularly with a legal team, for example, and is expected to communicate well with this team. Risk managers may also be required to work with public relations specialists, especially if there is a problem in the company that must be addressed.
What Type of Degree Do Risk Managers Have?
Depending on the type of company a risk manager serves, several different degrees are appropriate. For very large companies with vast holdings, teams of risk managers are often employed including insurance specialists, lawyers, and accountants. For smaller businesses, one risk manager may be assigned the full-time job of managing the company’s exposure.
In many cases, risk managers for smaller companies do not have law degrees and are not CPAs. Instead, they take a bachelor’s or master’s degree in risk management from an accredited university.
How Much Do Risk Managers Earn?
The amount you can earn as a risk manager will depend on the size of the company for which you work, your degree level, and the particular job you do. A lawyer who specializes in risk management for a large company will obviously earn a higher salary than someone with a bachelor’s degree working for a small firm.
Those who earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration can often work their way into top executive positions in risk management, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS notes that top managers are among the highest-paid employees in the country, with median annual salaries of $94,400. Obviously, risk managers will not make this much if they are hired by small companies and have little experience. However, a risk manager who starts at a small company, gives good service, and moves on to a larger firm can eventually earn six-figure salaries in some cases.