Organizations are facing increased risks as many have grown their risk management team over the last two years, but they still need to address specific technology-related talent shortages, according to a new Accenture 2013 Global Risk Management study.

The research report, “Risk Management for an Era of Greater Uncertainty,” is based on a global survey of 446 executives in seven industries — 98 of which were insurers — and two government sectors. In the report, insurers contend legal risks, market risks and business risks related to changing volumes are projected to rise most in the next two years. Respondents recognize that they need to find the right talent to address these risks; 54 percent of organizations reporting a shortage of candidates with the right skills. Exactly half of responding executives said their risk management functions were challenged by weak recruiting strategies and insufficient training programs.

“We are concerned that many organizations appear to be particularly struck by analytics skills shortages in the risk management area,” said Steve Culp, global managing director, Accenture Risk Management. “Technology plays a critical enabling role but highly qualified talent is needed to ensure the successful application of these tools to improve risk management capabilities. Those who excel tend to nurture a range of analytics skills that are specialized in the various aspects of risk management.”

They report shortages of talent in a number of areas, including risk business and data analytics (61 percent), risk technologists (60 percent), and regulatory change program management (58 percent). Shortages of pricing and risk quantitative skills (46 percent) and risk operations specialists (41 percent) were also noted.

Fifty percent of respondents said they lack skilled staff to develop analytical models; 44 percent have difficulty embedding risk analytics in management processes; and just as many (44 percent) are working with outdated legacy systems, while 42 percent said their systems integration is lacking.

“Risk management is being pushed up the list of organizational priorities by external factors, from the political upheavals in Egypt and Syria, to the supply chain issues triggered by natural disasters, to Dodd Frank and Basel III regulations, as well as ongoing volatility in customer and financial markets,” Culp said. “While these factors have led to increased internal demand and greater integration of risk management into decision making, talent shortcomings are hindering organizations’ ability to successfully execute and mitigate the risks to achieving business objectives.”

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