Unemployment is the topmost risk that Indian businesses face, as per new data from a survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF) which is published by partners of the Forum’s Global Risks Report, Marsh & McLennan Companies and Zurich Insurance Group. Even globally, unemployment or underemployment has been cited as the number one risk.
The new data is drawn from the WEF’s proprietary Executive Opinion Survey (EOS), which provides a unique window into global business conditions and which, among other things, asks respondents to identify the five biggest risks to doing business in their respective countries. In 2017, the EOS was conducted between February and June and the question on risks to doing business was answered by 12,411 executives across 136 countries.
Sanjay Kedia, CEO of Marsh India, said that in India, concerns about high unemployment climbed to the top rank in 2017. “Concerns about fiscal crisis, terrorist attacks, misuse of technology, and financial institution failure also made an appearance in the top five ranks among local business executives,” said Kedia.
Executives’ responses identified economic, geopolitical, social and technological risks as likely to carry the greatest dangers for their businesses over the next 10 years.
It is to be noted that huge job losses fuelled by automation, robotics and artificial intelligence has been a source of concern in markets like India. Professionals are engaged in upskilling to ensure that they stay relevant to their job roles.
Executives in most regions highlighted unemployment or ‘underemployment’ and ‘fiscal crises’ as the two greatest risks, although those in the North America, East Asia and Pacific regions were most concerned by cyber-attacks and asset bubbles.
Following an increase in geopolitical risk, sometimes fueled by protectionist policies, business leaders in Europe, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa were most worried about the potential failure of national governance.
In Europe, business leaders added ‘failure of financial mechanisms or institutions’, to the list of pressing risks. In South Asia, rapid growth in urban centers led executives in that region to highlight ‘failure of urban planning’ and ‘failure of critical infrastructure’ as among the key potential threats to their businesses.
Risks associated with the ‘failure of climate change adaptation’ elicited very little concern among those deemed likely to pose the gravest threats over the next 10 years. Out of the 20 economies as per the survey, only Canadian executives put climate change in their top risks list, albeit ranking it lower than some other risks.
The threat of potential terrorist attacks worried executives in North America, and the Middle East and Northern Africa, but failed to make it to the top five risk ranking among businesses in other regions.