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Mercer Marsh Benefits

People Risk Report 2022

Resetting priorities to manage risks for workforce and business resilience.

2022 research shows the greatest likelihood and impact of 25 workforce-related threats facing employers worldwide according to human resource (HR) professionals and risk managers.

Do you know which people risks provide the greatest threat to your business and how to mitigate them?

We continue to move from one crisis to another with New Zealand organisations reacting to unfolding events.

Instead, they must learn the lessons of the pandemic, strengthen risk management foundations by being more deliberate, comprehensive and innovative in anticipating emerging and longstanding risks. 

Critical to this is building on the trust established between risk and human resource functions so they work together to protect employees and mitigate people risks linked to health and safety, ESG and the future of work.

The five pillars of people risk that are having the greatest impact on businesses across the globe

MMB people risk research looked at the 25 individual people risks with the greatest power to disrupt business.

Health & Safety

  • Pandemics & other communicable health conditions
  • Employee health & wellbeing
  • Mental health
  • Workforce exhaustion
  • Work-related illness or injury

Governance & Financial

  • Administration and fiduciary
  • Increasing cost of health, risk protection and wellbeing benefits
  • Benefit, policy, and reward decision making & accountability
  • Legal, compliance, and financial practices
  • Pension financial exposure

Accelerated Digitisation

  • Cybersecurity and data privacy
  • Impacts of automation and AI
  • HR technology obsolescence 
  • Misalignment of HR and business strategy
  • Skills obsolescence

Talent Practices

  • Changing the nature of work
  • Talent attraction, retention, and engagement
  • Succession and key person risk
  • Conduct and culture
  • Travel and mobility

Environmental & Social

  • Catastrophic personal life events
  • Environment
  • Working conditions and labour relations
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Leadership issues

Do you know the top people risks impacting New Zealand businesses in 2022

Download our report to learn more about the people-related risks impacting New Zealand businesses, the barriers to managing them and ideas you can implement to help mitigate these risks.

Click to learn more about each of the five pillars

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The pandemic pushed the health and safety of employees and society as a whole to the fore. As a result, nearly nine out of ten (87%) HR and Risk professionals rate health and safety people risks as a serious threat to the business.

Administering employee benefits, retirement plans, and compensation is becoming increasingly complex. Regulation ranging from new compensation disclosure requirements, ongoing anxiety over equipping individuals to make the right financial decisions and evolving employment and benefits legislation contribute to making this the second highest rated people risk.

Accelerated digitization is pushing digital risks, including cybersecurity and data privacy ahead of all risks. More than nine out of ten cybersecurity issues can be traced to human error. 

The way sensitive employee data is used in benefit plans continues to be an area of data exposure as more people join new companies as part of “the great resignation”. At the same time, the accelerated pace of digital transformation is changing the relationship between people and machines. Automation and AI advances are anticipated to require half the workforce to reskill by 2025 and 75m jobs to be lost.

The war for talent, especially digital skills, means organizations across different industries are competing for the same high performers. Consequently, 43% of employers say their employee value proposition now needs improving.

There is an urgent need to recruit the new skills required to drive transformation, as well as retain and motivate existing talent. The changing nature of work, from the rise of hybrid working to globalization, is now the fourth-biggest people risk overall.

Environmental and social risks now make up a fifth of the top ten people risks but are perceived to matter more to employees than the C-suite.

Organizations are feeling pressure from customers, investors, employees and regulators to ensure profit does not come at the expense of society or the planet. Employees also want to work for socially responsible employers with good ESG credentials. However, only 3 in 4 organizations agree that they have enough budget to manage environmental and social risks today.

Explore key risks identified by HR and risk managers by geography and industry

What are the key risks and priorities for HR and risk professionals in 2022?

HR and risk managers are aligned on some of the top risks while ranking them differently.  

Explore five people risks, how to mitigate them, and the differences across geographies and industries.

Ten out of the ten top risks identified by HR/risk managers globally can be mitigated by employee benefits, support programs and/or how they are delivered.

Read our report to learn where to start.

About the report

People Risk 2022 includes views from 2,594 HR and Risk professionals in 25 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, North America, the Pacific, and the United Kingdom, from industries including finance, communications, media, technology, manufacturing, automotive and retail.


Global organisations


HR respondents


Risk respondents