Risk Management Job Market

Hotter Than Ever, Say Recruiters and Practitioners

Spencer Scholars weigh in on how the Foundation has helped them get ahead

     If you’re looking for a job in risk or insurance, now is the time to act. The future of the industry is “hotter than it’s ever been,” according to Richard Meyers, chairman and CEO of talent management and recruiting firm Richard Meyers and Associates(RMA), Inc.  Meyers, who is well versed in the ebbs and flows of the risk profession due to some 30 years of placing talent in the industry, says that he believes there are several key variables to the growth of the risk profession. “Terrorism events such as 9/11 weigh heavily on organizations’ minds, as do natural disasters, business continuity trends, regulatory issues such as Sarbanes Oxley and the push towards Enterprise Risk Management,” he says. “Businesses are now questioning whether they have the best talent in place to ensure they are properly protected from disastrous events; improving upon the company’s products or services; and possess the proper business skills necessary to meet employers’ initiatives.  And the answer seems to be creating a risk management department, or strengthening the department already in place,” Meyers explains.  



      Spencer Educational Foundation Scholars who are currently pursuing a degree inrisk management or have recently entered the industry agree with Meyers. “The risk management market provides a variety of options and at the same time it is specializedenough for students not to feel that they are competing against the rest of the world,” says Hanan Boukhabza, ACE INA – Internal Audit.

      “One can choose to work in insurance, reinsurance, risk management, brokerage, Third Party Administrators (TPA), actuarial or evenconsulting—there is something for everyone.  It is an industry that is invested in developing young talents.”  Boukhabza, a recent risk and insurance management graduate from the Fox School of Business at Temple University and one of the first recipients of the Spencer Educational Foundation John T. Lockton Memorial Scholarship, also mentioned that the industry is like a small family, which makes it very resourceful.

      “It is impossible to lose touch with anyone. Even when people switch jobs they are moving within the limited range and eventually run into each other at RIMS events and exchange present contact information.” R. Fernando Vázquez, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in occupational safety and health at Columbia Southern University and a senior risk control consultant for Travelers Insurance, agrees with Boukhabza.  “The market looks bright as regulatory and compliance agencies hold employers—including administrative staffand principals—accountable for employee safety. Thus, it is in the employer’s best interest to staff risk and safety managers to implement safety policies, loss control and prevention measures to minimize incidents, claims and losses,” he says. Vázquez received the 2007 Spencer Educational Foundation part-time master’s scholarship. He stumbled upon the Foundation while searching for financial support for his master’s degree. Raised in a rural suburb of San Juan, Puerto Rico, his father instilled in him the importance of education and hard work, both of which played a large role his choice to start a career in safety management and risk control.  

      “A small island in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico lacks the resources and—unfortunately—the proper training and education in many industries to account for the safety ofemployees performing potentially dangerous work,” says Vázquez. “One of the largest problems that I see in the United States is occurrences of accidents due to the language barrier between English and Spanish-speaking workers. Receiving this scholarship will help me to realize my goal of using bilingual skills as a way to train individuals in away that alleviates safety problems that plague construction sites and put workers at risk.” 



      With a market demand for risk managers, some schools have changed the way they teach risk.  Meyers mentioned that several colleges—Temple University, University of Florida, Mississippi State University, University of Georgia and The Wharton School of theUniversity of Pennsylvania among them—have created risk and insurance management curriculums or strengthened current programs in order to better prepare the next generation of risk professionals. “Schools are recognizing that conventional ways of learning are no longer working for this field,” says Meyers. “Now, risk managers are being asked to teach classes and become mentors to students. Students are encouraged to participate in more internships and expected to pursue higher learning opportunities and professional designations.” Students are taking note of these changes to risk and insurance education, and Spencer Educational Foundation is working hard to connect with as many of them as possible.Whether it is scholarships awarded to aspiring students or grants to colleges interested inenacting the Risk Manager in Residence program, the Foundation is more available to students than ever before.

     “At Temple University, Spencer Educational Foundation is perceived by everyone in the risk management program as the most prestigious in terms of its weight and significance in the industry,” said Boukhabza.

     “The Foundation automatically got my attention as a competitive prestige that is beyond the financial help—an honor and connection to the industry. The Foundation changes people’s lives. It is unique to have such great educational support that helps students gain more self-confidence and build a sense of commitment to the risk management community.” Aelon Porat, a Spencer Scholar who attends Temple University, also finds the Foundation’sfinancial support beneficial. “I highly doubt that I could be where I am now without the support of Spencer Educational Foundation.  Alone in this country and ineligible for federalor state loans, I am solely responsible for paying college tuition and fees, rent, food and various living expenses.” Porat, who received the Spencer Educational Foundation September 11th Memorial Scholarship, says that the award gave him extra incentive to prove himself worthy of the scholarship and strive to do well academically and professionally. “I now know that doing well eventually pays off and it is a rewarding feeling,” he says. “The Foundation’s support extends beyond relieving the financial burden. For me, being a Spencer Scholar means that someone cares about you.”