This sector is all about helping people and organisations to manage risks and take advantage of opportunities, through assessment, consultancy and planning for the future. If you are a problem solver and a good communicator, this could well be the sector for you.

Areas within this sector include:

  • Internal auditing
  • Compliance
  • Pensions
  • Public revenues, ratings and valuations
  • Risk and quality management


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Jobs and salaries

Internal auditing

Audit, as defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (UK and Ireland), “is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation's operations. It helps an organisation accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.”

Find out what internal auditors do, and browse jobs and careers advice for this profession. Take a look at the job roles within internal auditing.

Pay for internal auditors varies considerably, but they can be financially very rewarding jobs. The average salary is around £40,000.

Compliance, Anti Money Laundering and Fraud Prevention 

Careers in Compliance, Anti Money Laundering and Financial Crime Prevention are challenging and rewarding as they involve identifying, managing and preventing risk. 

Find out more about salaries in this area.

The International Compliance Association is the leading global provider of professional qualifications in compliance, AML and financial crime prevention offering courses to suit all levels of experience. 

Pensions

With more people in the UK living for longer than ever before the provision and administration of pensions (or retirement incomes) is big business. 

There are a number of different job opportunities available for people interested in working in the pensions sector. These include roles as pension advisers or consultants, pension scheme managers and administrators. Pay rates vary considerably. Look at TotalProfessions.com Job Search.

The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) runs a dedicated pension jobs website called Pension Careers. You can visit it here – it will give you a feel for the salaries being offered.

Public revenues, ratings and valuations

This profession is all about working for the Local Authorities to help them collect the necessary revenues and benefits to be able to provide services to the community.

Find out more about a career in this area.

Risk and quality management

The disciplines and skills associated with risk management are being applied to an increasing number of areas of business activity - from the management of financial risks to those around health and safety. The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) believes risk management should be multi-faceted discipline; often referred to as enterprise, integrated, holistic or practical risk management.

The IRM advertises job opportunities and so does the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC). On the AIRMIC site registered users can also upload details about themselves to be seen by potential employers. Please also visit TotalProfessions.com Job Search.

Pay rates vary considerably in this industry but starting salaries are likely to be in the range of £20-30,000.

Also consider a career in quality management, helping organisations to improve from within, by identifying problem areas, risks and opportunities.


Routes and qualifications

  • Find out which qualification is right for you for a career in internal auditing.
  • The Pensions Management Institute offers nationally recognised qualifications covering the various disciplines that support pension scheme management. 
  • The IRM runs an International Certificate and Diploma in Risk Management. The Certificate is a broadly based introductory qualification for anyone with an interest in risk management and takes 6-9 months to complete. The Diploma is at post-graduate level and takes three-five years. Information about IRM qualifications are available here.
  • Take a look at The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) if you were interested in the specialist areas of either financial or energy risk management.
  • Consider being mentored in the area of risk and insurance management.
  • Find out more about becoming qualified in compliance, anti money laundering or financial crime prevention.



Funding and support

Professional qualifications in these areas are likely to be funded either by the employer or by employees themselves. However, it is recommended that further enquiries are made with the appropriate professional body.

If you are planning on studying at undergraduate/postgraduate level, check out the pages on student finance from gov.uk, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.

The Association of International Accountants is now offering Audit Scholarships for students who want to qualify as statutory auditors. The organisation wants to make the audit qualification more accessible for students by removing some of the financial barriers.


What's it really like working in this sector?

Bored of reading? Sit back and watch our career videos from people working in this sector.



How many jobs are there in this sector?

According to the Institute of Internal Auditors there are globally more 150,000 internal auditors.

In the UK there are at least 1,200 pension schemes with some 15 million members and assets of around £800 billion (source: National Assoc of Pension Funds). 

The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), which has offices in New York and London, claims to have certified more than 50,000 risk managers in 167 countries.


Location, location, location

Most of these jobs are likely to be based in the major financial capitals of the world. In the UK this means in London, Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

According to the Institute of Internal Auditors, “There are usually extensive opportunities to travel domestically and overseas. It is a great profession for people who enjoy doing new things, want to work with other people and don’t like being chained to a desk.”


Will a career in this sector suit me?

According to the Institute of Risk Management, successful risk managers need to be:

  • Good communicators
  • Friendly and persuasive
  • Analytical and numerate
  • Patient and persistent
  • IT savvy

To work in Internal Audit you must:
  • Have sound commercial awareness
  • Enjoy working with people at all different levels of the organisation
  • Have strong communication skills, both written and oral
  • Be able to interpret figures and statistics
  • Have strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Be able to work as part of a team or alone
  • Have a flexible approach to work
  • Be able to work to tight deadlines and under pressure to deliver results
  • Be able to multi-task and prioritise
  • Be able to use their initiative
  • Be able to use a range of computer packages

and should:
  • Be ambitious, energetic and ready for a challenge
  • Have an enquiring mind
  • Enjoy working with figures and statistical data
  • Understand organisational structure
  • Have a commercial focus
    (*Source: IIA)


A typical administrator’s job in a pension scheme would ask for:
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral
  • Good time management skills and the ability to organise and prioritise own workload
  • Able to work to a high level of accuracy
  • Computer literate
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • GCSE at Grade C in Maths and English (or equivalent)


According to the International Compliance Association, good candidates for compliance roles will:

  • possess a combination of experience, relevant qualifications that enhance capabilities, and a good attitude and aptitude.