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A woman showing her male coworker the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) trends for 2023.


Top Governance, Risk and Compliance Hiring Trends in 2023

By Karl Kimball, Aston Carter Executive Advisor, Governance, Risk & Compliance, and Ted Bickford, Aston Carter Director of Strategic Operations

The Need for Governance, Risk and Compliance Specialists Is Rising

It’s a good time to be a governance, risk and compliance (GRC) professional. While hiring for GRC specialists dropped during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand didn’t stay down for long. That’s because GRC initiatives are increasingly crucial for industries that face heavy regulations, like financial services and healthcare. Ensuring a company is in compliance isn’t optional; it can make or break a business. This emphasis on GRC has allowed hiring demands to quickly bounce back.

Even now, in the face of a possible recession, the need for GRC professionals is unlikely to drop. Fines, regulatory activity and crime have been increasing over the years, with no indication of slowing down.

Noncompliant Companies Faced Big Fines in 2022

For companies that downplay the importance of compliance, the news in 2022 offered many high-profile cautionary tales. Banks around the world found themselves with millions, if not billions, of dollars in fines for violating the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Other compliance issues, such as recordkeeping failures and consumer violations, landed some of the biggest names in the financial industry in hot water.

Large banks were hit with $1.8 billion in fines in 2022, including Bank of America ($225 million), Citigroup ($200 million), Goldman Sachs ($200 million) and Morgan Stanley ($200 million). For these banks, the penalties represented a not-insignificant portion of their earnings that year. Bank of America’s fines totaled 8% of their net income, Citigroup’s and Goldman Sachs’s were 12% and Morgan Stanley’s reached 15%.

Even companies that managed to stay compliant with current regulations may not have an easy road ahead. In 2023, the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated it will focus on new and emerging risks, including cryptocurrency and climate change. This means businesses need to be prepared to quicky adjust to new sets of rules and regulations.

Fraud and Financial Crime Are on the Rise

Financial crime and fraud continue to be big headaches for companies. In 2021 alone, U.S. financial institutions reported $1.2 billion worth of ransomware-related filings, a 200% increase over 2020. It’s estimated that fraud costs businesses and consumers nearly $309 billion a year.

In 2021, U.S. financial institutions reported $1.2 billion worth of ransomware-related filings.

To avoid massive fines, stave off crime and comply with new and existing regulations, companies need the internal expertise to identity and fix problems before regulators come knocking — which requires a robust team of trained GRC professionals. This makes finding candidates with governance, risk and compliance skills and experience a big priority for highly regulated industries.

A Positive Hiring Outlook for Governance, Risk and Compliance Positions in 2023

The demand for GRC professionals remains above pre-pandemic levels and showed growth throughout 2022. We expect this GRC hiring trend to remain positive as we move into 2023, especially in industries like healthcare, financial services, transportation and energy, among others that face high regulations.

Line graph shows the seasonal forecast is positive for GRC workers.

Many of the most in-demand skill sets within GRC have shown incredible growth over pre-pandemic levels. The demand for compliance specialists, for example, has grown 96% over the last few years. This speaks to the increased importance of governance, risk and compliance expertise within companies, and the desire to bring more talent in-house. The increased need for GRC professionals, however, has left companies facing an intense competition for workers. A skills gap and retention issues are contributing to this fight for talent.

Chart shows the top in-demad skill sets for GRC workers.

A Skills Gap Makes Finding GRC Workers a Challenge

Finding highly trained governance, risk and compliance specialists is a major issue for employers. The knowledge and skills these roles require are typically difficult to learn outside of working in the industry; it’s often not as straightforward as getting a college degree or certificate that prepares workers for the job. That means it can be difficult to find experienced workers, especially if these roles need to be filled quickly.

This learning curve can be remedied by on-the-job training and upskilling, but these come with their own challenges. One of the biggest barriers to building a robust GRC internal team is retention.

Retention Issues Make Upskilling Workers More Difficult

Upskilling and on-the-job training often require companies to have experts with years of experience already employed who can mentor new workers. As retention issues grow, however, maintaining and passing down that knowledge can become more difficult. Losing workers means losing not just an employee, but the knowledge and experience they take with them. Without this experience to pass on, it can be difficult to train other employees to step into these badly needed roles. And, of course, finding and training a replacement for a skilled GRC specialist in a tight labor market can be difficult, time consuming and very costly.

GRC Professionals Want Remote Work

To secure qualified GRC workers amidst stiff competition, companies should begin by offering workers what they want, including a competitive salary and remote work opportunities. The latter may be particularly important to talent acquisition. A recent survey found that almost half of participants planned to “definitely” seek a remote position for their next job, something that companies looking to retain or recruit talent should take note of.

While offering remote options helps to attract GRC professionals, it also helps to expand the pool of available talent. If employers are only looking to hire within a particular location, they are limiting themselves to a select number of candidates and therefore may be missing out on qualified candidates who have the required skill sets needed for the job.

To Find GRC Talent, Look to a Staffing and Workforce Solutions Partner

To truly find the talent they need, businesses should look for a staffing and workforce solutions partner with an in-depth understanding of this labor market who can help them access a deep pool of skilled workers.

Aston Carter has a unique expertise in the governance, risk and compliance space, and has a strong pipeline of talent to help quickly fill the need for analysts, auditors and other in-demand GRC specialists. In addition to staffing and workforce solutions, consulting services are also available, with consultants coming directly from some of the world’s top financial institutions. Their experience in areas like financial crimes, regulatory compliance, operational risk and more brings long-term solutions and value to businesses who need GRC support.

Contact us to learn more about how Aston Carter can help your organization find qualified GRC talent.

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