What does the future hold for business continuity management professionals?

17 March 2017

By Charley Newnham

In the summer of 2016 the BCI and PwC came together to tackle a question that has been in the air for some time: has the emergence of interest in organisational resilience altered the career paths of those working in Business Continuity Management (BCM)? And whether it has or not, what does the future hold for BCM and the professionals that deliver it?

When people entered the BCM industry 20 years ago, it was often as a result of being well-known in their organisations for being highly capable and knowing the company inside out. These ‘older hands’ talk about getting into BCM 'by accident' and had no significant competition for the role when it was created. By contrast, today universities are graduating whole classes of students: that’s hundreds of people every year who want to enter the industry.

We wanted to know how people at all stages of their careers viewed current industry prospects and how they wanted their careers to progress.

So, we surveyed 741 BCM professionals about the future of BCM.

The results

While there were many interesting research findings, there were some clear themes that came out of the research:  

  • Expanding our remits. It’s getting more important to work closely with Risk, Security, Information Security and IT - around half of us believe. Indeed, a quick scan of recruitment boards during the research period showed many jobs being advertised as hybrids between BCM and one or more of the other areas, particularly those posts at more senior levels.
  • It’s not just about BCM any more, it’s about BCM’s vital contribution to resilience. 62% say it’s becoming more important for BCM functions to expand their remits beyond traditional BCM - Businesses are also responding, by requiring closer working and joined up approaches between the functions to maximise effectiveness and minimise silo mentalities to increase resilience. Many BCM jobs remain unchanged by these developments, but 66% of people delivering BCM in-house believe that current interest in resilience provides them with increased career opportunities and opens up the way to do things perhaps their predecessors did not.
  • Determining our own paths.66% of those delivering BCM in-house believe that the growing interest in organisational resilience increases their career options. One of the things that struck us most during the research and the discussion in subsequent sessions on the findings at BCI World, is that both organisations and individuals are benefiting where BCM has matured in an organisation. Organisations are, of course, better prepared to manage disruptions but often recognise that BCM leaders have a deep understanding of how their organisations really work, from the bricks and mortar, to the technology and the people. Similarly, some BCM leaders are taking note of the opportunities this trend may offer them, and creating and taking opportunities to not only progress to lead BCM but, where they have other interests, also explore other opportunities including, in some cases, shooting straight towards securing a Board position.
  • The gender gap - the industry is more male dominated than many of us realised. We got over 740 responses to the survey. 72% were from men and 28% from women. How can we make the industry more appealing to women?

 What next?

We understand some of you have already started using the report content to:

  • Instigate new conversations with your senior leadership
  • Support business cases for your BCM department
  • Have new conversations with your colleagues who also focus on operational resilience
  • Support proposals for change
  • Use as starting points for internal debates on whether change is needed
  • Consider your own career path and next steps

I’d be really interested to know how you use the findings report, so please do feel free to drop me an email or comment below to let us know what findings matter to you and how you might use them.

Further reading:

View the full report here.

Finally, if you’d like receive – or take part in – future research and reports, please keep in touch with us by subscribing to our blog.

 Charley Newnham: View Charley Newnham’s profile on LinkedIn   

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