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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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