While nearly all organizations (98 percent) consider risk management more important than it was two years ago, finding the right talent is a challenge, with 54 percent of organizations reporting a shortage of candidates with the right skills, according to the new Accenture (NYSE:ACN) 2013 Global Risk Management study. The research report, “Risk Management for an Era of Greater Uncertainty” – based on a global survey of 446 executives in seven industries and two government sectors – also noted that exactly half of responding executives said their risk management functions were challenged by weak recruiting strategies and insufficient training programs. As a consequence of the talent shortages, the study found large gaps between senior management expectations for risk mitigation outcomes and their risk function’s performance. For example, 95 percent identified the importance of reputation management, but only 28 percent said their risk team had provided support in that area. Managing volatility was considered important by 70 percent of respondents, but only 21 percent said the risk team contributed to such initiatives. The report also noted that organizations need to deal with talent shortages at a time when they are facing increased risks, with legal risks (named by 62 percent of respondents); business risks related to changing volumes, margins or demand (52 percent) and regulatory requirements (49 percent) projected to rise most in the next two years. “Risk management is being pushed up the list of organizational priorities by external factors, from the political upheavals in Egypt and Syria, to the supply chain issues triggered by natural disasters, to Dodd Frank and Basel III regulations, as well as ongoing volatility in customer and financial markets,” said Steve Culp, global managing director, Accenture Risk Management. “While these factors have led to increased internal demand and greater integration of risk management into decision making, talent shortcomings are hindering organizations’ ability to successfully execute and mitigate the risks to achieving business objectives.” Risk Analytics Skills Hard to Find Although 58 percent of the respondents said that they had grown their risk management team over the last two years, they report shortages of talent in a number of areas, including risk business and data analytics (61 percent), risk technologists (60 percent), and regulatory change program management (58 percent). Shortages of pricing and risk quantitative skills (46 percent) and risk operations specialists (41 percent) were also noted.