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Nick Waterworth Speaks with The Financial Review About Risk and Compliance Jobs in 2019

Risk and compliance jobs to reach record levels in 2019

By Luke Housego from The Australian Financial Review

Demand for risk and governance professionals is expected to reach record levels in 2019 as the financial services industry responds to royal commissions, according to Ambition CEO Nick Waterworth.

A long-time recruitment professional who founded Ambition 20 years ago, Mr Waterworth said professionals with credentials in risk, governance and compliance will increasingly be sought out by banks, insurance companies, wealth managers and other corporates this year. "What we'll see in the first half of the year is that there just won't be enough people to go around to fill all jobs in risk and governance," he said. Ambition CEO Nick Waterworth says businesses may turn to accounting firms and auditors in their search for risk and compliance professionals.

NAB chief markets economist Ivan Colhoun noted the trend can be traced back to 2008 but that it has spiked recently. "There has been a significant increase in demand for risk, governance and compliance professionals since the Global Financial Crisis," he said. "This has reflected increased regulatory and compliance requirements introduced by authorities globally to strengthen the financial system. “The SEEK data suggests that from around the time the [banking] royal commission was announced in 2017, this growth has accelerated."

'Niche skill set'

The SEEK data shows job advertisements by banks for compliance and risk positions have consistently grown as other customer-facing roles have recorded significant falls.

SEEK managing director Kendra Banks said she expects an increase in businesses looking for these types of roles over the next year.

"Compliance and risk job roles require an extremely niche skill set which can vary across different industries," she said. "Therefore, it can be hard for recruiters to find the right person for the role, or for candidates to even know that these roles exist outside of finance and banking institutions."

'Historical under investment'

Deborah Latimer, a partner in Deloitte's governance, regulation and conduct practice, said she has seen a growth in engagements for risk/governance work among corporates, which was largely due to an under investment. "The royal commission exposed an issue of historical under investment in these functions and a consequential lack of functional effectiveness overall," she said.

"This raises serious questions about how well current operating models are working and whether it would be better to go back to first principles on the design of functional operating models. "Governance, risk, and compliance will never be the sole province of professional practitioners in oversight functions but must be made key responsibilities of management and of frontline business staff and those responsibilities need to be effectively performance managed."

Mr Waterworth, whose recruitment business employs 250 staff across Australia, Asia and the UK, also supported a more forward-looking approach when considering investment in risk and governance. "I think some smart institutions see it not a just a cost but as an investment."While the shortfall is mainly due to financial services, there is also an increase in risk professional hiring within IT, according to Mr Waterworth. He said organisations who see the value it provides will benefit from the positive view built among customers and the labour market, but to find appropriate staff they will have to look domestically and overseas. 

This article originally appeared in The Australian Financial Review on 10.01.19.

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