More women are becoming risk managers in France, AMRAE’s latest barometer shows

The picture of French risk management and the demographics within the discipline are changing, AMRAE’s latest barometer has highlighted.

Enterprise risk management (ERM) is increasing in prominence, the French professional body for risk managers.

“We observe a continuous evolution with more and more focus on ERM, more than insurance buying topics,” said Julien Muller, a senior consultant in PwC’s risk advisory division, who led the survey, in association with AMRAE.

“That is a continued trend from the previous edition,” said Muller.

The last time the biennial survey was compiled, in 2015, ERM topics represented some 31% of the risk manager’s role, on par with insurance buying, but this has now surpassed insurance buying (which fell to 24%) to reach 40% in the 2017 study.

This year’s risk barometer study compiled responses from 270 respondents, up from 188 in the previous survey.

“What we do is to try to take a picture – a snapshot – of the risk management profession in France,” said François Malan, vice president of AMRAE, who is also chief risk officer of real estate group Nexity.

“We look at who is the risk manager; we look at their position; and we look at their links within the organisation,” Malan said.

The bulk of risk professionals surveyed combined both ERM and insurance buying responsibilities.

“It’s not that insurance buying is any less important, but that risk analysis work is getting more and more important,” said Malan.

“Today, with the focus increasingly turning to the so-called emerging risks, big companies are focused on risk analysis more and more within a professional ERM methodology,” he continued.

Despite this increased focus, the resourcing allocated to risk management in France is largely stable, he suggested.

Muller agreed that staffing remains tight within most organisations.

However, there was good news for women within the risk management discipline within the AMRAE barometer.

“The proportion of women is increasing. In this study it reached 45% of respondents, which is a big increase from 37% just two years previously,” said Muller.

“Today in France we have a lot of senior management retiring, and increasingly they are being replaced by women. There are more and more women getting into the risk management field,” Muller added.

The overall age demographic, meanwhile, remained stable, the study revealed, showing a wealth of experience among senior risk professionals.

The majority of French risk managers were aged over 45, the study showed, while more than a third had at least a decade’s experience in a dedicated risk management function.

Academically, roughly a third of respondents had typical undergraduate degrees, while about a third came from an MBA economics background, and the remaining third came from a scientific or engineering educational background.

Malan suggested the diversity in educational background – together with ongoing training – was an advantage for a multi-disciplinary approach and using a variety of skills.

“Finance training is more and more important, as risk managers engage more closely within the organisation with the chief financial officer,” said Malan.

“It’s the same for cyber security – they need to know how IT works. They need to understand, and they need the data, but not to become IT engineers,” he added.

Muller suggested that the role of the risk managers as communicator within the organisation was particularly important.

He listed three major activities: risk mitigation by reporting and monitoring risks; risk identification; and “spreading a risk culture” within the organisation – which was flagged by more than four fifths of respondents.

In seniority terms, the AMRAE study revealed 64% of respondents said they were talking directly to the chief executive, though not necessarily reporting directly to the CEO.

Some 44% of respondents said they reported directly to the C-suite.

“Sixty-three percent of risk managers had the impression that their position was becoming more recognised,” said Malan – up from 50% in the previous study.