A degree in risk management provides you with the skills and knowledge to identify, assess and report operational and financial risks in an organization. Risk management professionals spend much of their day assessing and analyzing risk so they can communicate critical findings to higher level managers. Professionals with a risk management degree often are employed in the statistics, insurance or actuarial business.
If you are considering a degree in risk management, you probably want to get a better idea of what your salary potential is with the degree. This article describes how the following factors can influence your salary in risk management:
- Whether you obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree
- The type of career you choose
- Years of work experience
- Company and industry
- Geographic region
After you have this information that affects salary, you will be able to make an informed choice about earning a risk management degree.
Level of Risk Management Degree
There has been ample research conducted over the years that shows how a master’s degree in many disciplines can lead to a higher salary. Whether or not this is the case for you depends upon the speciality. But many professionals in the risk management field will find more salary potential with a higher degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS has compiled data that shows the median wage for all workers with a master’s degree in 2013 was $68,000, while those with a bachelor’s degree earned only $56,000.
In risk management, you can expect to earn more money with a master’s degree in risk management. A risk management analyst with an MBA in risk management can expect to earn a salary of $73,000 to $78,000, according to Salary.com. For those with a bachelor’s degree, Payscale.com reports the following salaries by position:
- Underwriter: $55,000
- Senior underwriter: $71,800
- Insurance underwriter: $63,700
- Account manager: $46,000
- Insurance sales agent: $59,000
- Community association manager: $39,700
Earning a master’s degree in risk management will probably result in a higher salary. Whether it is worth getting your advanced degree depends upon how much the degree costs you.
Types of Risk Management Careers
The occupation you select in the risk management space will have a strong effect on your long term salary. Below are some of the most common positions you can obtain with a risk management background and possible salaries:
Financial analysts offer guidance to businesses and people who are making various investment decisions. They are responsible for assessing performance of stocks, bonds and other investments. Having a risk management background can be important for making smart decisions about all kinds of investments. Many financial analysts focus on a specific industry, geographic region or product. Some financial analysts focus on areas such as energy, while others may focus on a foreign exchange market.
BLS states the median salary for financial analysts in 2017 was $84,300, and the top 10% earned more than $165,000 per year. Salaries break down as follows by industry for financial analysts:
- Securities, commodity contracts and other financial investments: $100,100
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $83,900
- Management of companies and enterprises: $82,500
- Credit intermediation and related activities: $80,800
- Insurance carriers and related activities: $76,800
An insurance underwriter decides whether a company will provide insurance and under what terms. They also evaluate insurance applications and determine the amount of premiums and coverages. Underwriters are the major link between the insurance company and the insurance agent. Underwriters use software to determine if an insurance applicant should be approved or not. See also insurance agent salary and insurance management salary outlooks.
The majority of insurance writers specialize in life, health, and property and casualty. The job duties in each area are similar, but the criteria that the underwriters use can vary a lot.
The median salary for insurance underwriters in 2017 was $69,700, according to BLS. The top 10% earned a median salary of $123,000. Salaries in this profession break down as follows by industry:
- Credit intermediation and related services: $75,500
- Direct health and medical insurance carriers: $71,900
- Direct insurance: $69,500
- Insurance agencies and brokerages: $68,700
- Other insurance related activities: $67,700
An actuary assesses the financial costs of uncertainty and risk in business. They are specialists in mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess what the risk of various events is, and they assist businesses and clients to develop policies that minimize the risk. Most actuaries work in the insurance business.
Actuaries today are experts in the use of database software to compile critical information to assess risk. They also use statistics and modeling software to forecast how likely it is that an event will occur and the possible costs of the event if it were to occur. Actuaries work in health insurance, life insurance and property and casualty insurance for the most part. Some also work in enterprise risk and pension and retirement benefits.
BLS reports the median salary for actuaries was $101,500 in 2017. The top 10% earned more than $184,000 per year. Salaries break down by industry as follows:
- Finance and insurance: $102,500
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $101,400
- Government: $98,800
- Management of companies and enterprises; $95,000
Related risk management and financial fields with different salaries include:
- Budget analyst: $75,200
- Claims adjuster: $64,690
- Cost estimator: $63,100
- Financial examiner: $81,600
- Management analyst: $82,400
Risk Management Work Experience
How many years of work experience you have in risk management will affect how much you earn with this degree. Payscale.com has the following break down of what a risk management professional can earn based upon years of work experience:
- Risk managers with less than five years of experience earn an average salary of $69,000.
- Risk managers with 5-10 years of work experience earn an average salary of $88,000.
- Risk managers with 10 to 20 years of experience earn an average salary of $97,000.
- Risk managers with more than 20 years of experience earn an average salary of $96,000.
Generally, more work experience results in a higher salary, but once you have been in this field for more than 15 to 20 years, the salary levels out.
Risk Management Company
Professionals with a risk management degree can earn different salaries based upon the company for which they work. Most risk management jobs are in financial services and technology but the salary level can vary markedly by company. Below are some typical salaries reported for risk managers on Indeed.com:
- IBM: $154,500
- BNY Mellon: $118,000
- Credit Suisse: $132,200
- Deutsche Bank: $126,400
- Deloitte: $129,700
- Freddie Mac: $118,400
- Amazon: $121,600
- Barclays: $120,800
- Kaiser Permanente: $118,900
- PwC: $117,800
- Metlife: $112,300
- Paypal: $109,000
- Citi: $100,200
- GE Capital: $106,800
Risk Management Location
Where you work with a risk management degree geographically will influence your salary significantly. For example, Payscale.com states the average salary for risk managers across America is $85,898. But your salary will vary above or below this average as follows by city:
- San Francisco: +38%
- New York City: +37%
- Seattle: +34%
- Los Angeles: +34%
- Dallas: +19%
- Atlanta: +18%
- Chicago: +14%
- Boston: +10%
- Washington DC: +4%
The above information is a good illustration of the many factors that can influence your salary with a risk management degree. Now that you are better armed with good information, you can make an informed decision about this growing business field.
- Actuaries. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/actuaries.htm
- Financial Analyst. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm