A new survey published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that both US and Canadian businesses have identified cyberattacks as their top risk concern, followed closely by the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Produced in partnership with Zurich Insurance and Marsh & McLennan Companies, WEF’s survey “Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020” asked over 12,000 business leaders from around the world to determine “the five global risks that you believe to be of most concern for doing business in your country within the next 10 years.” Surveyed regions included East Asia and the Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa.
For the US, business leaders identified these top five risks (compared with the top risks identified last year):
In Canada, executives identified these as their top risk concerns:
Globally, WEF’s survey found that unemployment is the upmost concern among business executives. Fiscal crisis, which was last year’s top concern globally in 2019, came in at third place this year. Infectious diseases is the second most recurring risk, appearing on the top 10 list in all regions except South Asia.
The top five risks across all regions are as follows:
“The employment disruptions caused by the pandemic, rising automation and the transition to greener economies are fundamentally changing labor markets. As we emerge from the crisis, leaders have a remarkable opportunity to create new jobs, support living wages, and reimagine social safety nets to adequately meet the challenges in the labor markets of tomorrow,” said WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi.
“COVID-19 is distracting us from certain long-term risks that will be around long after the current crisis is resolved. But the pandemic is also having the positive effect of leading many to reassess priorities,” added Zurich Insurance group chief risk officer Peter Giger. “This, I hope, will ensure that businesses advance their risk resilience strategies and result in decisive and impactful action to combat existential risks like climate change.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on organizational resilience. As firms look to the future, they are matching their risk and resilience arrangements with a threat landscape marked by significant customer and workforce behavioral shifts,” commented Marsh president and CEO John Doyle.
Doyle also said that in order to optimize their recovery, organizations will need to introduce greater preparedness into their business models so that they can be more resilient in the face of future disruptions.