How to attract high calibre talent into internal audit

People are crucial to the success of any business. The ability to attract top talent is one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations of all sizes in all sectors, and internal audit is no exception.

Yet as the internal audit function evolves, so too must its talent strategies. A modern internal audit department has to deal with issues such as an increasingly complex risk environment, digital innovation, regulatory changes and technological advances, so having the right talent on board to manage this is critical.

The business and risk landscape is changing fast, with new, diverse skill sets emerging as a result. Internal audit teams now need to consist of people with expertise in areas such as technology, data analytics, cyber security and privacy, as well as those with industry-specific knowledge, who are not only analytical and methodical, but also risk-focused and commercially-minded.

According to KPMG's 2017 Global Audit Committee Pulse Survey, almost a third of respondents regarded additional expertise, especially in cyber security and technology, as particularly important, while PwC's 2017 State of the Internal Audit Profession Study found that 54% of agile internal audit functions have altered the mix of internal talent to place greater emphasis on emerging skill sets such as IT and data analytics.

Finding the best talent with the right mix of skills and experience is therefore critical, and a more strategic and future-focused approach is required if internal audit is to develop a talent pipeline, as well as raise its profile, be trusted advisors to the business, and meet stakeholder expectations.

Skills shortages

However, finding this unique skill set is far easier said than done, as high-performing talent is scarce. A survey by the IIA in 2015 found that 54% of internal audit executives blamed limited talent pools for the skills gaps in their…