Career Pathways in GRC

Career Pathways in GRC

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) are central to the operations of organizations today because of the dynamic business environment marked by global conflicts and evergrowing cyber threats. GRC provides guidance and a framework for organizations to navigate difficult internal and external situations. In particular, it helps organizations implement relevant policies and procedures to manage risks and meet compliance regulations.

However, implementing GRC in your organization and reaping its benefits require specialized personnel in cybersecurity, compliance, governance, risk management, and more. They are also skilled in applying the GRC principles and frameworks within any organizational structure and setup.

If you want to hire a GRC professional or start a GRC-related career, read on, as we talk about GRC roles, responsibilities, and the top skills required for a successful GRC professional.

Responsibilities of a GRC Professional

A GRC professional plays a multifaceted role in an organization as this individual’s work can span across all three GRC pillars. The key responsibilities include:

Risk Identification and Management

A GRC officer must continuously scan the internal and external environments for potential threats. This could include working with cybersecurity professionals, network administrators, system admins, and other employees and teams across the organization.

Moreover, the officer must identify a pattern of threats that are occurring repeatedly and their likely sources and causes. Accordingly, that individual must formulate appropriate policy recommendations and submit them for approval.

Compliance Management

Compliance is another key GRC responsibility. As the name suggests, the GRC officer is responsible for monitoring any changes in the relevant compliance laws, and ensuring that the organization’s processes and activities comply with these changes.

Moreover, the officer must conduct regular internal audits and assessments to ensure that the organization is continuously compliant with the required laws and regulations. If required, the officer can suggest changes in policies and processes to address compliance gaps.

Creating Internal Controls

Creating the appropriate internal controls is essential to monitor risks and maintain compliance. These internal controls are a set of checks and balances implemented by a company to achieve its objectives. These controls can also come in handy to improve operational efficiency and reliability, establish uniformity, and implement corrective actions as needed.

However, developing and implementing internal controls is not easy and requires a comprehensive understanding of an organization’s operations and the environment in which it operates. A GRC officer is expected to understand these multiple aspects and work with the relevant departments to identify the controls and collaborate in their implementation.

Developing Governance Policies

Transparency and accountability are essential aspects of governance, as they promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in workplaces. It also promotes ethical practices in an organization, resulting in increased employee morale and a culture of compliance.

To develop these policies, the GRC officer must work with the top management and employees, acting as the bridge to promote accountability and transparency across all levels.

Engaging with the Stakeholders

Another key responsibility is to engage with different stakeholders, like employees, regulators, shareholders, management, suppliers, and more. Each of these shareholders has a unique role in an organization’s GRC practices.

Due to their unique association, the GRC officer must lay down the specific responsibilities and policies each stakeholder must follow to help the organization achieve its risk and compliance objectives. In the real world, it’s not easy to make every stakeholder adhere to the formulated policies. The GRC officer must regularly engage with them, clarify doubts, communicate clearly, and offer every possible support. These measures can help them adhere to their required responsibilities.


Reporting is also a key responsibility as the GRC officer often reports directly to the higher management. Summarizing the key developments and their impact in a concise and intuitive report can help get more support from the leadership.

Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation

Developing and implementing policies is only one half of a coin. The GRC officer is also responsible for continuously monitoring the implementation and results of these policies and comparing them against the established goals to ensure that the policies help achieve their objectives. In case of discrepancies, the officer must make appropriate recommendations to modify the existing policies or implement new ones.

Thus, these are the important activities of a GRC personnel in an organization. As you can see, these tasks are extensive and are hard for one individual to implement. This is why many large organizations have dedicated GRC teams, where each member of the team oversees one responsibility.

Critical Skills Required for a Successful GRC Career

Based on the above responsibilities, here are the critical skills to look for in a successful GRC employee who can create the required impact in your organization:

  • Understanding of the different risk types that can impact an organization.
  • A comprehensive knowledge of compliance regulations.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Team player.
  • Diligent researcher.
  • Capable of creating concise reports.
  • A deep understanding of IT systems, processes, architecture, and data processing.
  • Strong ethical standards to ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects within deadlines.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Analytical skills to understand a situation and recommend appropriate controls.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Familiarity with different GRC platforms.
  • A good business acumen to understand the organization’s goals and how GRC practices can support them.

With these skills, a GRC professional can add value to an organization.

Moving on, let’s take a peek into the likely roles in GRC to help organizations advertise and hire the right candidates for each role.

GRC Roles

Below are the typical GRC roles. Note that the names can vary between regions.

Risk Manager

Just like how it sounds, a risk manager is responsible for identifying existing and emerging risks. This individual is responsible for assessing and mitigating its impact with the right strategies and tools. Overall, a risk manager reduces loss from risks.

Compliance Manager/Compliance Officer/Compliance Specialist

Like the risk manager, the compliance manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with the mandatory and voluntary standards and frameworks. This individual conducts the necessary audits, identifies gaps, and implements the policies for reducing compliance gaps. Also, this professional is responsible for staying on top of changes in regulations and mapping them to the organization’s processes.

Governance Manager

We have covered risk and compliance, and now this role is about establishing the right processes and policies to ensure transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior within the organization. This role also requires extensive communication across different departments and taking an active role in making informed decisions.

GRC Director

This is an overarching role where the individual oversees governance, risk, and compliance programs and managers, and ensures that the GRC objectives align with business goals. Also, this individual is responsible for preventing compliance and risk issues and their impact, and interacts directly with the top management for formulating policies and making decisions.

Audit Manager

The audit manager is responsible for conducting internal audits and assessments to ensure the processes align with the compliance requirements. Moreover, these audits help you understand if the existing internal controls mitigate risks. Also, you can have a better handle on your governance programs.

Thus, these are the major roles in GRC. Some organizations can combine one or more roles or may split the existing responsibilities among multiple individuals based on the workload.

If you are building a GRC team, consider the size of your organization, available budget, the potential risks impacting your business, the mandatory, and voluntary compliance frameworks, and the workload. Accordingly, decide how many roles you want to create and the number of people for each role.

Bottom Line

Overall, GRC is a growing field as businesses look to leverage its potential to save money and build a positive brand image. Many organizations either build a complete GRC team or hire one or more individuals to oversee the GRC activities. With growing cyber threats and compliance requirements, this field is all set to grow exponentially in the coming years. In this article, we discussed the roles, responsibilities, and skills of GRC professionals, and we hope this information helps individuals aspiring to have a career in this space, as well as organizations looking to build a GRC team.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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