Alongside government regulation and cyber crime, business leaders perceive that the biggest threats to their company’s success are challenges related to recruiting and retaining talent, the results of a report on confidence levels among global CEOs and CMOs released on April 24 by the Worldcom Public Relations Group indicated.

The report’s findings are based on the results of a survey of 585 chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief marketing officers (CMOs) of all business sizes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The survey asked business leaders about their confidence levels on a range of issues. The results showed that respondents are most confident in the ability of their organization to satisfy or exceed customer expectations, to have the people and skills needed to achieve its objectives, and to outperform competitors; and are least confident in the ability of their organization to protect itself against cyber crime, to attract and retain the best talent, and to have the technical resources to achieve its objectives.

When asked to identify the factors they believe will have the most influence on their company’s success in the next 12 months, the top factor cited by the business leaders surveyed was their organization’s ability to attract the best talent because of the quality of its employer brand, followed by the strength of the global economy, their company’s access to affordable finance, and changes in the political environment in their country. Smaller shares of respondents said they believe global trade agreements, global instability and the threat of war, the arrival of disruptive competitors, or global warming and extreme weather events will strongly affect their company’s success over the coming year.

The results also showed that the share of business leaders who are planning to give employees—rather than other audiences, such as shareholders and government officials—the most attention in the year ahead was 43% higher in the 2018 survey than in a similar survey conducted in 2017. The findings further indicated that respondents at organizations headquartered in the U.S. have higher overall confidence levels than their counterparts in other countries, while respondents in Asia have the lowest confidence levels. In addition, the survey found that business leaders’ confidence in the ability of their organization to meet challenges declines with the size of the respondents’ company.

Researchers emphasized that younger leaders seem more attuned to macro threats and macro business implications than their older counterparts, noting that much larger shares of respondents under age 35 than over age 45 report seeing extreme weather and climate change, energy costs, data protection, and global instability as among the biggest threats to their company’s success. Older leaders, by contrast, were found to be more optimistic than their younger counterparts about challenges related to the economy, competition, or customer satisfaction.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 6

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