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Unemployment is the main concern for business executives globally, with fiscal crisis — the top concern in 2019 — coming third, according to the World Economic Forum's interactive map on Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020.
Infectious diseases progressed 28 spots and is the second most recurring risk, appearing in the top 10 in all regions except South Asia. Surveyed regions include East Asia and the Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa. The survey pulls 30 risks, including terrorist attacks, extreme weather events and state collapse or crisis.
While the top risks are mostly related to economics, climate-related risks are causing greater concern this year, with natural catastrophes (up seven places), extreme weather events (up five), biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse (up eight), and failure of climate-change adaptation (up two) featuring more prominently. Other significant changes include human-made environmental catastrophes (down six), failure of urban planning (down seven), and terrorist attacks (down nine).
"The employment disruptions caused by the pandemic, rising automation and the transition to greener economies are fundamentally changing labour 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 labour markets of tomorrow," says Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.
"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. 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," said Peter Giger, Group Chief Risk Officer, Zurich Insurance Group.
"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 behavioural shifts. Just as economic and climate concerns will require firms to refocus business plans, a greater reliance on digital infrastructures will mean a marked increase in cyber risk exposures. To optimize recovery, organizations will need to build greater preparedness into their business models in order to be more resilient in the face of future disruptions," said John Doyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh.
"The global pandemic has unleashed untold damage to our economies and societies. Business leaders in Asia have recognized that risk in their response to the Forum's survey, with infectious diseases appearing as the number one risk for the region. As new partners to the initiative, we are working to better understand the interconnections between the risks perceptions of business leaders and their broader multistakeholder community. What we already know is that tackling the intersecting risks of pandemic, financial risks, and climate change will be a cornerstone of the desired new normal," said Lee Hyung Hee President, Social Value Committee, SK Group.
|Region||Risk #1||Risk #2||Risk #3||Risk #4||Risk #5|
|Global||Unemployment||Spread of infectious diseases||Fiscal crises||Cyber attacks||Profound social instability|
|East Asia and the Pacific||Spread of infectious diseases||Asset bubble||Natural catastrophe||Inter-state conflict||Cyber attacks|
|Eurasia||Spread of infectious diseases||Inter-state conflict||Profound social instability||Fiscal crises||State collapse or crisis|
|Europe||Spread of infectious diseases||Cyber attacks||Unemployment or underemployment||Fiscal crises||Asset bubble|
|Latin America and the Caribbean||Failure of national governance||Unemployment or underemployment||Profound social instability||Fiscal crises||Spread of infectious diseases|
|Middle East and North Africa||Energy price shock||Fiscal crises||Spread of infectious diseases||Unmanageable inflation||Cyber attacks|
|North America||Cyber attacks||Spread of infectious diseases||Data fraud or theft||Natural catastrophe||Asset bubble|
|South Asia||Unemployment or underemployment||Misuse of technologies||Energy price shock||Profound social instability||Failure of national governance|
|Sub-Saharan Africa||Unemployment or underemployment||Failure of national governance||Failure of critical infrastructure||Spread of infectious diseases||Energy price shock|
The Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020 is in the form of an interactive map and was developed in partnership with Marsh & McLennan Companies, Zurich Insurance Group, and SK Group. It is part of the Forum's Global Risks Initiative, a workstream that analyses critical global risks and communicates these risks to stakeholders and the wider public through digital and media assets.
The findings of the Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020 are based on 12,012 responses from business leaders in 127 countries. The respondents were presented with a core list of 30 global risks and asked to select "the five global risks that you believe to be of most concern for doing business in your country within the next 10 years." This question is included in the annual Executive Opinion Survey, which is a part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. The 2020 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report will be published on 18 November.
The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).
Marsh is the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor. With around 40,000 colleagues operating in more than 130 countries, Marsh serves commercial and individual clients with data-driven risk solutions and advisory services. Marsh is a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With annual revenue over $17 billion, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment through four market-leading businesses: Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer and Oliver Wyman. Follow Marsh on Twitter @MarshGlobal; LinkedIn; Facebook; and YouTube, or subscribe to BRINK.