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Survey: Business Leaders Start 2020 with Lingering Concerns About Talent Shortages & Recession Risk

2020

Survey: Business Leaders Start 2020 with Lingering Concerns About Talent Shortages & Recession Risk

A new survey reveals that the world’s chief executives view the risk of a recession as their biggest external concern in 2020. Attracting and retaining talent ranks as their top internal concern. They also feel unsettled by trade uncertainty, political instability, and more intense competition from disruptive technologies. However,
they plan to counter such forces by developing more innovative cultures and new business models.

Conducted annually since 1999 by The Conference Board, this year’s survey gauged nearly 750 CEOs and nearly 800 other C-Suite executives from mainly four regions: Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States. As part of the survey, participants weighed in on which external and internal issues warrant the most immediate attention in 2020.

External Concerns in 2020

Recession fears top the list

Global: For the 2nd year in a row, CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally rank a recession as their top external worry
in the year ahead.

US: For US CEOs, a recession rose from being their 3rd biggest concern in 2019 to their top one in 2020. The issue surpassed cybersecurity, their top concern in 2019.

Elsewhere: A recession also tops the list of concerns of Chinese and European CEOs, and is the runner-up for Latin American and Japanese CEOs.

Widespread concern over trade uncertainty

Global: CEOs globally rank uncertainty about global trade as their 2nd biggest external worry in 2020.

US: It ranks as the 4th biggest worry of US CEOs, tied with its affiliate issue: global political instability.

China: Chinese CEOs rank trade uncertainty as their top worry, tied with their fear of a recession.

Latin America and Europe: CEOs there rank it 1st and 3rd, respectively.

Chinese CEOs feeling the effects of economic sanctions

China: Chinese CEOs rank the effects of economic sanctions as their 5th biggest external worry, tied with the issue of more demanding customers. Their concern about sanctions is the highest-ranking by any country by a big margin.

What it reveals about US-China trade tensions: The role technology plays in this conflict is deep and enduring. Tariffs are likely to be temporary and easily subject to negotiation, but technology blockades, via economic sanctions, are not.

Competition intensifies

Global: For CEOs globally, fiercer competition rose from being their 4th top external worry in 2019 to their 3rd in 2020.

US: For two years in a row, US CEOs cite the issue as their 2nd top external worry.

China: For Chinese CEOs, concerns about fiercer competition rose from being their 7th in 2019 to their 3rd in 2020.

Cybersecurity budgets increase, but strategy remains elusive

Bigger budgets: More than 70% of responding CEOs globally plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets in 2020.

But unclear strategy: Almost 40% of responding CEOs globally say their organizations lack a clear strategy to deal with the financial and reputational impact of a cyber-attack or data breach.

Climate change heats up

Global: For 2020, CEOs globally ranked the impact of climate change on their business as 9th, up from 11th in 2019.

Driving the momentum: CEOs in Latin America (4th, up from 10th in 2019) and Europe (8th, up from 13th in 2019).

“The ongoing concerns about recession risk among business leaders reflect the slowing economy of the past year and the uncertainties about the outcome of the trade disputes and other policy concerns,” said Bart van Ark, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. “However, given a slightly better outlook for the global economy and an easing of trade tensions, we anticipate that a drumbeat of negative sentiment – which can become a self-fulling prophecy – can be avoided, and that we  will see more confidence about business prospects in 2020.”

Internal Concerns in 2020

The number-one priority: attracting and retaining top talent

-Widespread agreement: Regardless of a company’s location or size, attracting and retaining top talent ranks as the number-one internal stressor for CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally in 2020.

-What’s intensifying the talent battle? A tight labor market, among other issues. CEOs globally, for example, cite the tight labor market as their 5th biggest external worry in the year ahead.

Developing innovative products and cultures are a key focus

Create new business models because of disruptive technologies: CEOs and other C-suite executives globally rank it their 2nd top internal priority.

Create a more innovative culture: CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally rank it their 3rd top internal priority.

Widespread commitment to cultivating leaders for the future

Global: CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally rank developing “next-gen” leaders as their 4th top internal priority.

Japan: Japanese CEOs rank this issue as their number-one internal priority, ahead of all other internal issues.

Women C-Suite executives more concerned about equal pay for equal work

Women: Globally, implementing equal pay for equal work ranked as their 6th top internal priority.

Men: Globally, the issue ranked as their 15th top internal priority.

“The global challenge in acquiring and retaining talent requires companies to be more strategic – knowing not only what qualities and skills to recruit for, but also how to recruit more efficiently and effectively,” said Rebecca Lea Ray, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board. “To support such efforts, they can consider leveraging artificial intelligence, a valuable tool when used with the proper understanding and safeguards.”

Mature-Market CEOs vs Emerging-Market CEOs

The survey results reveal much agreement between CEOs in mature economies (436 respondents) and emerging markets (304 respondents). But, some stark differences exist when it comes to which issues they plan to prioritize in 2020.

3 External Differences

Tight labor market
-Mature-market CEOs rank the issue as their 3rd biggest external concern. Emerging-market CEOs rank it 10th.

Uncertainty about global trade
-Emerging-market CEOs rank the issue as their number-one external concern. Mature-market CEOs rank it 4th.

Declining trust in political and policy institutions
-Emerging-market CEOs rank the issue as their 5th top external concern. Mature-market CEOs rank it 8th.

3 Internal Differences

Create new business models because of disruptive technologies
-Emerging-market CEOs rank the issue as their 2nd top internal priority. Mature-market CEOs rank it 4th.

Manage mergers and acquisitions
-Mature-market CEOs rank the issue as their 7th top internal priority. Emerging-market CEOs rank it 12th.

Build a more inclusive culture
-Mature-market CEOs rank the issue as their 8th top internal priority. Emerging-market CEOs rank it 16th.

“When it comes to creating new business models because of disruptive technologies, there is more urgency among  emerging-market CEOs than those in more mature economies,” said Chuck Mitchell, Executive Director of Knowledge,  Content, and Quality at The Conference Board. “This should raise a warning flag about possible complacency considering the current speed of disruption. The truth is that, today, companies no longer enjoy the luxury of a decades-long lead time to adapt to the digital revolution.”

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Media can contact The Conference Board for a copy of the full survey results.

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, they
are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conferenceboard.org

Republished with permission

younger generation

How To Entice The Younger Generation Into Utility Careers

Unfortunately, there is a serious age crisis within the energy and utility sector at the moment. Many companies recognized, in approximately the 1990s, that they were facing a severe problem with the age demographics of their workers: younger people didn’t want to work in these areas, due to a number of factors such as better access to alternative education and a lack of faith in the sustainability or career options within such career pathways. However, this has only really started affecting business now, since the older wave of workers are beginning to retire, leaving energy companies scarce of any manpower. So, in these dire times, we must look to the younger generation to fill the gaps and become the new driving forces in the energy and utility sectors, but how can you entice them into joining your company?

Changing Attitudes

Of course, not all of your older workers are going to disappear overnight, so you have to consider the effect and impact that focusing on the younger generation might have on them, due to many cultural and societal clashes which are common between the differing ages of workers. Older workers may see younger workers as finicky and addicted to their material possessions – think less antiques and hand-me-downs and more iced coffees and mobile phones – which may create friction within the workplace which could put off younger workers. Make sure that any pre-existing staff are educated on diversity and how to be welcoming to the younger generation, and inform them of the changes which you are trying to make to the workforce, and the reasons behind your doing so. Education is the best way to avoid this being a problem.

Think Local

“Often, the best talent – and the most willing to work in our areas – is found locally,” says Richard Ford, an HR at Thesis Writers and Big Assignments, “since we often find that implementing training with the surrounding education centres and informational days for students is the way to go. Many kids from the cities won’t know much about creating electricity or the jobs which are involved with energy, but if we reach out to the students living around our workplace and teach them how they can go far in our business, often the pull to stay near home and find a stable job leads them to join a career in our sector, since they can often stay near family and childhood friends, and work and live in a town which they are familiar with.”

In short, education – not only of your staff, but also your possible future staff – is the way to go. Make sure that you are taking advantage of every opportunity to reach out into the local schools and colleges and inform the students of the career options which they have, which are closer to home than frightening and unknown office jobs in big cities with long commutes.

Appealing To The Younger Generation

“The current workplace has been shaped by the older, “baby boomer” generation, who helped to make the culture and social atmosphere of workplaces everywhere appear how they are today,” explains Amanda Wills, an HR at Dissertation Writing Service and Essay Services.

However, in order to appeal to the younger generation, you may need to make a couple of changes, keeping in mind the differing social climate of today. Generally, younger people are more conscious of their social standing, in regards to giving back to communities, so making sure that your company does a lot of work in the community is vital. Younger workers may also want to have more of a say in how the company is managed, so letting them take part in important decisions and making sure that everyone feels like their voice is being heard is also a good idea.

“Although they’re not ‘snowflakes’, younger people do require a different working climate to the generation which we are used to, which may make appealing to them seem a little difficult at first,” Jade Coates, a journalist at UKWritings and Boomessays, states, “but once you have put the changes in place, you’ll find it easy to attract younger workers and revive the life in your workforce, or so to speak! Education is usually the best method, but making sure that you are open and honest is also important, and keeping all rules and regulations (including social guidelines for your working staff) regularly updated is also a good idea, to remove any chances for friction or problems before they can happen.”

Summary

The younger generation may seem difficult to attract to jobs in the utility and energy sectors, but it only takes a little bit of change to get them on board. Investing in education opportunities and keeping your current staff up-to-date and welcoming is always a plus, and developing your workplace for the modern era by keeping the community and social morals in mind can make your company appear more inviting and viable.

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Aimee Laurence writes professionally for Top Assignment Writing Services NSW and Research paper help services. She has a personal interest in the energy industry and enjoys spreading her knowledge on the creation of electricity and the workforce behind it. Also, Aimee is a tutor at Student Writing Services.