IRM risk predictions 2021

While crisis management and survival were top of corporate agendas during 2020, risk managers and now looking to increase resilience and innovation, according to IRM’s Risk predictions 2021.

“Risk managers have never been so busy and pivotal to the survival of organisations of all types globally,” Iain Wright, CFIRM, IRM Chair said. “Our experts across a range of sectors and geographies have done an excellent job in this report in gathering together some of the key lessons learnt and exploring the trends that are arising in 2021.”

Changing risk profiles

All sectors have experienced unexpected challenges. In the charitable sector, for instance, for many fundraising has plummeted during the pandemic. On the other hand, volunteering has greatly increased as people look to utilise their spare time during working from home to help. 

Supply chains in the construction sector were badly hit by the pandemic. About 40 per cent of businesses in the industry face financial difficulties. In addition, supply chains and labour flows from the European Union threaten to delay UK mega projects. 

Not surprisingly, the health sector has undergone huge strain and change during the pandemic – trends that will dominate 2021.

“The experience of 2020 has demonstrated the need for a robust supply chain, flexibility in procurement processes, while maintaining effective oversight and value for money,” the report said. Maintaining the scale and pace of innovation into 2021 in areas such as digitisation, service delivery and data integration presented major opportunities, the report said.

Global view

Regions have been impacted differently by the pandemic. While in India, for instance, many businesses experienced downside risk because of COVID-19, Sachin Paranjape, IRM India Regional Interest Group’s deputy chair, expected risk managers to take a different approach during 2021.

“This year we will see another side of risk – rewarded risk and opportunities,” he said. “Businesses will still face big risks — Covid, rapidly emerging climate change, fractured geopolitics or cyber threat — but it is time that risk management shifted gears to become more strategic.”

While Jose Morago, CFIRM, IRM’s global ambassador for Spain and Latin America, expected the coming year to see improvements in the region, major challenges persisted with financial, business, technology and social issues. “Issues surrounding the availability of medical services, higher unemployment, access to education, food, poverty and inequality, as well as the speed of access to vaccines are likely to come to the fore. Major corporations and institutions will have to pay more attention to this increased scrutiny into how they behave internally and externally and their contribution to society.”

Read the full report here.

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