All You Need To Know About A Risk Manager Career

You consider becoming a risk manager but are still not entirely sure whether this would be the right job for you or not?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about working as a risk manager in the following chapters.

Not only will we talk about salaries, but you will also learn a lot about job satisfaction, job prospects, future outlook, work-life balance, educational requirements, duties and much more.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what being a risk manager looks like and whether this profession fits your preferences and abilities or not.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Risk Manager do?

Risk managers assess several possible risks a corporation or bank faces and make sure that all those risks are minimized or hedged.

This includes using suitable financial instruments to hedge against interest rate risk, exchange rate risk and market risk.

It also includes taking certain measures so that companies are protected against operational risks and major mistakes of employees that could lead to huge financial losses.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Risk Manager

  • Assessing the risk profile of companies
  • Finding major risks
  • Providing suggestions on how to hedge risks in a proper manner
  • Evaluating risk models
  • Introduction of new risk models
  • Calibration of risk parameters
  • Using scientific studies to forecast potential future risk sources
  • Introducing new risks in risk models (e.g. climate change)
  • Collaboration with different departments to get the necessary data to feed risk models
  • Communication with senior management and consultants
  • Performing stress tests
  • Preparation of emergency plans

What a Typical Day of a Risk Manager looks like?

Risk managers usually start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m.

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The first thing they do when they get to work is checking their emails and answering the most urgent ones.

After scheduling their appointments, risk managers work on complex risk models all day long.

Not only do they feed those models with data, but they also try to improve and adjust risk models so that they stay up-to-date with current and future developments.

Risk managers not only work on those models, but they also frequently communicate with different departments to get necessary data and they also report their results to senior management on a regular basis.

After doing this kind of mentally demanding work for many hours, risk managers usually finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Risk Manager Salary 2021

Risk Manager salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $136,000> $67.92
Top 25 %$116,000 – $124,000$57.89 – $61.88
Bottom 25 %$78,000 – $83,000$38.93 – $41.97
Bottom 10 %$62,000 – $69,000$30.91 – $34.42
Range$62,000 – $158,000$30.91 – $78.95
Average (Mean)$103,000$51.47
Median$96,000$47.89

Risk Manager salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$62,000 – $78,000$30.91 – $38.94
Junior$75,000 – $89,000$37.42 – $44.48
Professional$86,000 – $97,000$42.93 – $48.39
Senior Professional$94,000 – $117,000$46.88 – $58.41
Expert$114,000 – $136,000$56.98 – $67.92
Top Expert$129,000 – $158,000$64.38 – $78.93

Risk Manager salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$87,300$43.64
Alaska$95,200$47.58
Arizona$101,600$50.79
Arkansas$96,200$48.08
California$117,800$58.87
Colorado$95,400$47.67
Connecticut$102,700$51.34
Delaware$101,900$50.93
District of Columbia$105,600$52.78
Florida$103,800$51.86
Georgia$98,300$49.13
Guam$95,200$47.58
Hawaii$108,100$54.04
Idaho$96,400$48.19
Illinois$93,800$46.89
Indiana$106,600$43.27
Iowa$94,700$47.31
Kansas$97,200$48.59
Kentucky$89,800$44.88
Louisiana$93,100$46.53
Maine$98,800$49.38
Maryland$107,900$53.94
Massachusetts$109,400$54.69
Michigan$94,800$47.38
Minnesota$96,200$48.07
Mississippi$87,300$43.64
Missouri$85,500$42.73
Montana$97,200$48.59
Nebraska$93,600$46.78
Nevada$88,900$44.42
New Hampshire$103,400$51.68
New Jersey$107,200$53.59
New Mexico$89,300$44.64
New York$116,800$58.37
North Carolina$87,800$43.88
North Dakota$95,300$47.63
Ohio$98,200$49.09
Oklahoma$100,800$50.38
Oregon$102,400$51.19
Pennsylvania$109,800$54.88
Rhode Island$98,400$49.17
South Carolina$95,800$47.86
South Dakota$92,600$46.28
Tennessee$94,400$47.17
Texas$98,800$49.43
Utah$102,600$51.28
Vermont$105,800$52.87
Virginia$101,600$50.78
Washington$107,500$53.73
West Virginia$99,300$49.62
Wisconsin$95,700$47.84
Wyoming$89,400$44.67

Job Security of Risk Managers

Risk managers have decent job security since they are usually pretty smart and also get lots of fancy education.

Consequently, they can provide lots of value to the companies they work for.

Moreover, there are many different types of risks a company is exposed to and risk managers are crucial to hedge against those risks so that a company can succeed in the long run and is not hit by a major unhedged risk that would often lead to bankruptcy.

Thus, risk managers are in high demand and almost have freedom of choice regarding whom they want to work for.

Future Outlook of Risk Managers

Not only current job prospects are great for risk managers, but they also have a pretty decent future outlook since there will be numerous risks that are not incorporated in risk models yet due to our rapid technological progress and incorporating those risks will be a huge challenge.

Hence, risk managers will not have to worry about losing their jobs for many years to come.

Working Hours of Risk Managers

Risk managers usually start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Hence, they work in a classical 9 – 5 environment and will come home from work relatively early which gives them the opportunity to spend lots of time with their families or to meet up with their favorite people after work.

Job Satisfaction of Risk Managers

Most risk managers are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living since they can make good money while they still don’t have to work long hours and also enjoy pretty good job security.

Promotion Opportunities of Risk Managers

Risk managers have pretty good promotion opportunities.

While you will start out as a normal employee, you can get personnel and budget responsibility within a few years and if you are willing to work hard, you may even get into a leading position within your company and may finally end up on the board of directors.

Career Levels of Risk Managers

  • Intern in the risk management department
  • Junior risk manager
  • Senior risk manager
  • Senior risk manager with personnel and/or budget responsibilities
  • Risk manager leading the entire risk department
  • Risk manager sitting in the board of directors

Fields and Types of Risk Managers

  • Risk manager focused on market risk
  • Risk manager focused on interest rate riks
  • Risk manager specialized in managing operational risks
  • Risk manager focused on fraud topics
  • Risk manager specialized in credit risk
  • Risk manager focused on foreign exchange risk
  • Risk manager specialized in inflation risk
  • Risk manager with expertise in political risks
  • Risk manager focused on new unexpected risks
  • Risk manager focused on non-financial risks

Educational Requirements for Risk Managers

Risk managers need to get fancy education before they are able to work in this field.

In fact, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, business or a related field.

However, many risk managers hold a master’s or even a doctor’s degree and you should therefore be willing to spend lots of time and money on education if you really aspire to this career.

How to become a Risk Manager

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a risk manager
  2. Finish high school with decent grades
  3. Apply for your favorite degrees
  4. Choose your favorite degree at your favorite college
  5. Apply for an internship in the risk management department of companies
  6. Make a good impression during your internship and stay in touch with your colleagues
  7. Finish your degree with decent grades
  8. Apply for jobs as a risk manager
  9. Master the job interview
  10. Sign your labor contract
  11. Climb the corporate ladder

Character Traits you need as a Risk Manager

  • You should be interested in working with numbers
  • Patience helps you understand complex risk models
  • Persistence helps you push through difficult periods of your career
  • You should be open to critical feedback
  • You should be able to deal with confrontation in an emotionally healthy manner
  • Ability to make a stand for your results
  • Ability to forecast trends before they materialize in practice
  • You should be good at teamworking
  • You should not be afraid to speak in front of an audience
  • Willingness to question your results on a regular basis

Risk Manager Skills

Hard Skills for Risk Managers

  • Excellent knowledge of how to calibrate risk models
  • Knowledge of how to incorporate new risks in risk models
  • Knowledge of how to adjust risk models
  • Expertise in reading the results of risk models correctly
  • Excellent digital skills help you present your results well
  • Good problem-solving skills are a plus
  • Math skills help as well
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Good knowledge of regulatory requirements

Soft Skills for Risk Managers

  • You should be open to change with a changing risk landscape
  • People skills help you lead a team
  • Good communication skills help you present your results to senior management
  • Ability to deal with difficult people in a proper manner
  • Attention to detail helps you spot major unexpected risks
  • You should always work on your skills
  • Willingness to work in a challenging environment
  • You should be open to alternative approaches
  • You should understand how corporations work

Exit Options for Risk Managers

Since risk managers are highly-qualified and often have excellent knowledge when it comes to hedging against risks and also of the financial industry in general, they are in high demand and can work in many different departments.

For instance, in case you don’t want to work as a risk manager anymore, you can still work as a risk consultant, financial analyst or compliance officer.

Risk Manager – Similar Careers

  • Compliance officer
  • Financial analyst
  • Consultant
  • Investment banker
  • Financial controller
  • Insurance agent
  • Treasurer
  • Salesperson
  • Financial expert
  • Coach

Risk Manager Career FAQs

Is working as a risk manager physically demanding?

Being a risk manager is not physically demanding since you will work with your brain instead of with your hands.

Sure, you have to type a lot on your keyboard.

However, you will still not have to lift heavy stuff as construction workers or welders have to do on a regular basis.

Is working as a risk manager mentally demanding?

Working as a risk manager is heavily physically demanding since you will work with complex financial models all day long and also have to calibrate them on a regular basis.

Thus, you should be really interested in working with numbers to stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.

Is it dangerous to work as a risk manager?

Working as a risk manager is not dangerous at all since you will not have to work with heavy machines but rather work in a pretty safe office environment where the risk of suffering from serious accidents at work is pretty low.

How long do risk managers stay in their jobs?

Risk managers often stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since they are pretty happy with overall working conditions and their salaries and therefore don’t have an incentive to change their jobs anytime soon.

Is it easy for risk managers to find a new job?

Since risk managers are in high demand right now, it is pretty easy for them to find a new job and they almost have freedom of choice regarding whom they want to work for.

Is it hard to switch from being a risk manager to another field of work?

Risk managers can not only work in the risk department of companies, but they also have many skills needed in different departments.

For instance, in case you don’t want to work as a risk manager anymore, you will often have an easy time finding jobs as a risk consultant, financial analyst or compliance officer.

Do risk managers have a high social status?

Risk managers enjoy a decent social standing.

However, they still don’t have the same high social standing as doctors or nurse practitioners who can really save lives on a daily basis.

Can you help out your family and friends as a risk manager?

While you can minimize the risks of the company you work for, you will be pretty specialized and will not learn many practical skills that would be valuable for your loved ones.

For instance, while roofers and other craftsmen are able to fix many things around the home, you as a risk manager will just not be able to provide the same value to your family and friends and may therefore have a rather low standing within the group of people you hang out with.

Can risk managers work remotely?

Risk managers are able to work remotely most of the time.

Since they do classical office work, they can communicate their results via video calls and don’t have to show up at work in person anymore.

In turn, risk managers are pretty flexible to manage their private and professional life at the same time and can also save lots of time and money on commuting issues.

Is it easy to find a partner as a risk manager?

Since risk managers can make good money while they have high job security and also come home from work relatively early, risk managers also have an easy time in the dating market when it comes to finding a partner for a long-term relationship since they are considered pretty good providers.

Do risk managers have to work on weekends?

Risk managers don’t have to work on weekends.

Instead, you can use your weekends to make nice trips with your family or also spend them on your favorite hobbies.

Do risk managers have to work on holidays?

Risk managers also don’t have to work on holidays.

They can rather use those days to relax in the garden or to meet up with their favorite people.

Do risk managers have to work at nighttime?

Risk managers don’t have to work at nighttime but will rather come home from work relatively early most of the time.

In fact, you will work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and you will rarely have to work much overtime.

Do you have to travel as a risk manager?

You also don’t need to travel as a risk manager since you can work on your projects remotely and don’t have to show up for meetings or conferences in person most of the time.

Are risk manager pensions good?

Thanks to the good money risk managers are able to make from their jobs, also their pensions are pretty decent and most risk managers don’t have to worry about getting into financial trouble once they get older and quit their active careers.

Are risk manager salaries going up?

Risk manager salaries have been going up significantly over the past years.

Since risk managers are in high demand right now and this trend will likely continue in the future, also their wages will continue to go up as well.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a risk manager?

You will also do an important job for society as a risk manager since the failure of big banks or other corporations might have a huge impact on the financial industry in general and by minimizing the risk of such events, you can do good for millions of people out there, even though those people will not even know about your existence.

How long does it take to become a risk manager?

Since you have to get at least a bachelor’s degree to be able to work in this field, it will take you at least 3 years to become a risk manager.

Thus, you should be willing to spend some time in college and also to invest significant amounts of money in your education.

Is it difficult to become a risk manager?

Since you need to get lots of fancy education, becoming a risk manager is not easy and you should be willing to study really hard to get all the qualifications necessary to work in this industry.

Do you need to be smart to work as a risk manager?

Since you will have to work with numbers and complex risk models all day long, having a high IQ definitely helps to get and stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.

Do risk managers have a good work-life balance?

Risk managers enjoy pretty good work-life balance since they don’t have to work on weekends or holidays and also come home from work relatively early most of the time while they can still make pretty good money from what they are doing.

Do risk managers have to work many extra hours?

Risk managers don’t have to work many extra hours.

While you may have to work some extra hours during busy times, you will have rather relaxed workweeks for the majority of the year and will have more than enough leisure to spend with your loved ones.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a risk manager?

The harder you study and the more experience you get in the risk management industry at a rather young age, the better your chances to find a job as a risk manager.

Thus, to maximize your chances of becoming a risk manager, you should spend lots of time on college education and you should also apply as an intern in the risk management department of companies, make a good impression during your internship and also stay in touch with your colleagues.

Can risk managers work part-time?

While risk managers are also able to work part-time, most risk managers still work full-time since they just want to make as much money as possible from their jobs and are often also really interested in the projects they work on and really want to push them to success.

Do risk managers work indoors or outdoors?

Risk managers work indoors and therefore don’t have to worry about adverse weather conditions outdoors as garbage collectors or other people who work outdoors have to do on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a risk manager look like?

Risk managers work in classical office jobs and do most of their work with a computer.

They work on complex risk models but also have to communicate their results to senior management and other departments so that everyone is up-to-date with latest risk figures and developments.

Do you have to look good for working as a risk manager?

Your looks don’t matter for your success as a risk manager.

What’s much more important than looking good is that you have strong expertise in working with complex risk models so that you can provide lots of value for the company you work for.

Is a risk manager career beneficial for your private life?

Working as a risk manager can be greatly beneficial for your private life since you will work in a field where you can make really good money while you will also have enough time to spend with your family and the risk that your partner will cheat on you will therefore be relatively low.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a risk manager?

You need at least a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, business, mathematics or a related field to be able to work as a risk manager.

Even better would be a master’s or doctor’s degree, especially if you aspire to a fancy career and want to climb the corporate ladder soon.

Do you need to be certified to work as a risk manager?

You don’t necessarily need to get any special certifications to be able to work in the risk management department of companies apart from getting your college degree.

However, it can still help to get certified as a financial risk manager (FRM) to stand out from the crowd.

How much does it cost to become a risk manager?

Since you will have to spend many years in college, you also have to spend lots of money on your education.

Not only will you have to spend lots of money on tuition, but you will also have to pay for housing and many other things related to college education.

Is being a risk manager a good career?

Since you can make good money while you will have a pretty secure job and also don’t have to work long hours, being a risk manager can be considered a pretty good idea compared to many other jobs out there.

Is it easy to start your own business as a risk manager?

It is pretty hard to start your own business as a risk manager since most risk managers work employed and the risk consulting market is fierce and dominated by few big players.

Thus, if your dream is to work self-employed, you should not become a risk manager but rather become a digital marketer where it will be much easier to achieve your dreams.

Can risk managers teach themselves?

Risk managers can teach themselves many things they need during their workday.

However, you still need to get a degree before you are able to work in the risk management department of companies and teaching yourself will just not be enough in this regard.

Do risk managers make good money?

Risk managers can make pretty decent money.

However, while they will make significantly more than the average person out there, their income will still be rather low compared to dentists or judges.

Is it ever too late to become a risk manager?

Since you will have to get lots of fancy education before you are able to work in this field and you will also have to adjust to new risks quite often, it makes sense to start your risk management career at a rather young age since you will be more flexible and will also have better chances in the job market.

Do risk managers have to quit their careers early?

Most risk managers don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to work in a hard physical manner and are therefore also not at great risk of suffering from serious physical health problems.

Consequently, most risk managers are able to work in their jobs until official retirement age.

What is the hardest thing about working as a risk manager?

The hardest part about being a risk manager is that you will have to work with complex risk models all day long and this can really stress your brain quite a lot.

Can you provide for your family by working as a risk manager?

Since risk managers can make pretty good money from what they are doing, they also have a rather easy time providing for their families and don’t have to worry about financial problems that much.

Will risk managers suffer from old-age poverty?

Risk managers don’t suffer from old-age poverty most of the time since they receive pretty decent pensions and also make good money during their active careers so that they can save and invest enough money for retirement.

Can risk managers retire early?

Even though risk managers can make good money, it will still not be enough to retire early in most cases and risk managers therefore have to work until they reach official retirement age most of the time.

Do risk managers get a fixed or variable salary?

Risk managers mainly get a fixed salary when they start out their careers.

However, once they get more experienced, the variable portion of their salaries will increase since your bonus will become a much bigger part of your overall salary.

Can you get rich as a risk manager?

While you can make pretty good money, most risk managers still don’t get wealthy or even rich from what they are doing and if money is really important to you, you should rather become an investment banker or lawyer instead of working as a risk manager.

Do risk managers need a second job?

Thanks to their good salaries, most risk managers don’t need to work a second job since they will be able to make more than enough money from their risk manager career.

Do you get continuous training as a risk manager?

As a risk manager, you will get continuous training so that you can adapt to changes in technology and can also stay up-to-date with latest risk developments.

Do you get sick pay as a risk manager?

Most risk managers also get paid in case they get sick and don’t have to worry about getting into financial trouble during times they get sick and are not able to work.

Do risk managers have a high level of responsibility?

Risk managers have a pretty high level of responsibility since their mistakes may lead to serious financial trouble for the company they work for and in extreme cases may also cause bankruptcy.

Thus, you always need to stay focused at work to avoid those unpleasant situations.

Can risk managers work abroad?

Risk managers are in high demand all over the world.

However, working conditions and salaries will be quite different in foreign countries from what you are used to at home and you should inform yourself in this regard so that you don’t experience unpleasant surprises later on.

Is it stressful to work as a risk manager?

Working as a risk manager is not that stressful.

Even though you might have to work some overtime during busy periods of the year, you will still have a rather relaxed time at work during most days.

Is it boring to work as a risk manager?

Working as a risk manager barely gets boring since you will have to deal with many different risks and your judgement will be crucial when it comes to finding potential weaknesses in the risk profile of the company you work for.

Thus, you will have a high level of responsibility and will often not even have the time to feel bored.

Is being a risk manager hard?

Since you will have high levels of responsibility and also work on complex topics all day long, being a risk manager can be hard on a mental as well as on an emotional level.

Are risk managers at risk of burnout?

Since risk managers don’t have to work much overtime, they have enough time to recover from work and will not be at great risk of suffering from burnout compared to many other people out there.

Is there a dress code for risk managers?

There is no fixed dress code for risk managers.

However, you will often still wear pretty conservative clothes. While men are supposed to wear suits, women often wear fancy dresses.

What kind of risk managers are paid the most?

The more experience you have in the risk management industry and the more responsibilities you have, the higher your salary will be.

Thus, you should strive to get into a leading position within your company if you want to make the really big bucks.

What percentage of risk managers are women?

While only 21% of all risk managers are women, around 79% are men.

Hence, this industry is still dominated by men since men are often more eager to work with numbers.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a risk manager?

While you don’t necessarily need a mentor to succeed as a risk manager, it can still help to have an experienced colleague on your side who can help you push through difficult periods of your career and support you on a mental and emotional basis.

Do risk managers have a high life expectancy?

Risk managers have a decent life expectancy since they work in a pretty safe environment and also don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work.

Do risk managers suffer from sleeping problems?

Since risk managers don’t have to work much overtime and come home from work relatively early, they can maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs most of the time.

What states are best for working as a risk manager?

Since you can work remotely, it doesn’t matter that much in what state or region you live as a risk manager.

Thus, you can choose the location you want to live according to your personal preferences.

Who do risk managers work with?

Risk managers work with many different departments on a regular basis and it is therefore crucial that you have excellent communication skills and are also able to build a strong network to get all the information you need to feed your risk models.

Is working as a risk manager cool?

Being a risk manager is not considered cool by the majority of people out there.

However, you should still not choose your job according to what’s cool but rather ask yourself whether you would become happy in such a position.

Can you start a side hustle as a risk manager?

Since you will be pretty specialized and will also have to focus your energy on your risk management career, it will be pretty hard for you to start a side hustle unless you learn many additional skills in different fields.

Do you have to be creative as a risk manager?

Being creative helps you succeed as a risk manager in the long run since the more creative you are, the better you will be able to deal with unexpected problems and the easier it will be for you to forecast potential future risks.

Do risk managers suffer from being overweight?

Since risk managers don’t work in a hard physical manner, they also don’t burn lots of calories at work and therefore often suffer from being overweight or even obese.

How employable are risk managers?

Risk managers are in high demand right now.

Thus, they are pretty employable and will have an easy time finding a job in many different financial sectors.

Are risk managers happy with their jobs?

Most risk managers are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living since they can make really good money while they still don’t have to work many extra hours and also don’t have to deal with lots of stress.

Is working as a risk manager exciting?

Working as a risk manager can be pretty exciting since you will have a high level of responsibility and you always need to stay focused at work to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a risk manager?

Unless you specialize in risk management related to climate change, you will not have a big positive impact on our environment as a risk manager.

What are the pros and cons of working as a risk manager?

If you still think about becoming a risk manager, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a risk manager career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/422203/leading-business-risks-usa/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1229925/main-risk-management-strategies-worldwide/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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