Risk Manager


What does this person do?

Risk managers or analysts specialise in identifying potential causes of accidents or loss, recommending and implementing preventive measures, and devising plans to minimize costs and damage should a loss occur, including the purchase of insurance.

In other words, they coordinate loss control systems for organisations and businesses which may include disaster recovery plans and emergency evacuations. Risk managers also:

  • Direct the purchase of insurance programs
  • Manage claims and loss control activities
  • Manage relationships with third party service providers including brokers and insurers
  • Prepare loss analyses and budgets
  • Identify exposures, recommend solutions, implement approved programs, promote loss prevention, update and monitor compliance with insurance procedures and manage safety/risk management manuals
  • Managing the risk to the company, its employees, customers, reputation, assets and interests of stakeholders
  • Advising companies on any potential risks to the profitability or existence of the company
  • Identifying and assessing threats, put plans in place for if things go wrong and decide how to avoid, reduce or transfer risks
  • Evaluating risks by comparing estimated risks with criteria established by the company such as costs, legal requirements and environmental factors
  • Evaluating the company’s previous handling of risks
  • Reporting risk to different audiences, for example, to the board of directors, business heads and to stakeholders
  • Conducting audits of policy and compliance to set standards, which include liaising with internal and external auditors

Risk managers may work directly for large companies or independently as consultants, providing risk management services.


Personality Traits

To become a Risk Manager you must have the following traits:

  • The ability to communicate complex ideas, critical thinking, time-management and organisation
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Self-motivated, outgoing, open-minded, and enjoy learning new things
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong analytical and judgment skills and pay attention to detail
  • Experience in a job that involves decision-making and problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills, such as a nurse’s aide, restaurant server or retail sales associate


Learning Path

A combination of the following qualifications would be helpful in gaining employment as a Risk Manager:

  • Degree: Entry without a degree is possible, but it will usually entail a combination of experience and qualifications. Although this occupation does not have prescribed qualifications, a degree in risk management; finance or economics; science; statistics; engineering; law and management or business studies, which comprise courses with risk management content, could set you on the right track.
  • National Senior Certificate: For entry into the learning paths for this occupation you need a National Senior Certificate – Degree Entrance, with Mathematics as compulsory subject if you enroll for accounting. Please check the specific entry requirements at the institution of your choice.
  • Other Paths: The most appropriate learning paths are the following:
  1. A three–year general Bachelor of Commerce degree. A Bachelor of Commerce with a combination of financial, mathematical/ statistical, legal and management subjects.
  2. A three-year directed Bachelor of Commerce in Risk Management.
  3. A relevant Bachelor’s degree or Advanced Diploma and a Postgraduate Diploma in Risk Management.


Employment Avenues

Organisational Risk Managers are employed in all industries and may specialise in a number of areas such as enterprise risk, corporate governance, regulatory and operational risk, business continuity, information and security risk, technology risk, and market and credit risk. They are hired by oil and gas companies, rental car companies, schools, insurance companies, construction companies and much more. Risk managers have a lot of choice when it comes to choosing an employer. Other roles within this field are:

  • Risk Analysts
  • Risk Advisors
  • Safety Consultant
  • Loss Control Specialist
  • Workers’ Compensation Claims & Insurance Manager
  • Risk Consultants
  • Environmental Risk Assessment Specialist
  • Risk Analyst Engineer
  • Director of Corporate Risk
  • Nuclear Safety Advisor
  • Credit Risk Analyst
  • Chief Risk Officer
  • And much more.


Professional Regulation

The Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) is the leading source of networking opportunities within the Risk Management industry, with members from a wide range of corporations both from the private and public sector. IRMSA has been recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), as the only professional body for Risk Managers in Southern Africa. They are dedicated to the advancement of the Risk Management profession and accreditation, and therefore offer both individual and corporate membership opportunities.