Rising living costs have overtaken cyber security failures as the biggest worry for Australian business leaders, a global survey of executives carried out by Marsh McLennan and Zurich has found.
A sustained or rapid rise in inflation ranked second, followed by debt crises and geo-economic confrontation, with failure of climate change adaption rounding out the top-five list of perceived risks to the Australian economy in the next two years.
The findings reveal a sharp turnaround in business perception of lurking dangers since the last Executive Opinion Survey was carried out a year ago. At that time, cyber topped the table, followed by extreme weather events, climate action failure, infectious diseases and debt crises in large economies.
Economic worries against a backdrop of worsening geopolitical tensions globally, with potential implications for trade and commerce, explain why cyber, extreme weather events and infectious diseases slipped out of the top-five list.
“This is the first time in a few years that cost of living and inflation have topped the list of perceived risks for Australian business leaders,” Zurich Australia & New Zealand Chief Risk Officer Jaimie Sach told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
“It certainly highlights that these are front of mind for business leaders.”
He says the survey findings provide an important insight into the risks keeping Australian corporate leaders awake at night.
The survey, an annual collaboration with the World Economic Forum, is based on responses from more than 12,000 executives between April and August and released today as the United Nations’ annual climate summit gets underway in Egypt.
The Australia findings are similar to trends observed in other advanced economies. In North America, cost of living crisis placed first, followed by debt crises, rapid or sustained inflation, severe commodity price shocks or volatility and severe commodity supply crises.
In Europe business leaders fret most over rapid or sustained inflation, then cost of living crisis, severe commodity price shocks or volatility, geo-economic confrontation and finally, severe commodity supply crises.
“After more than two years of navigating different dimensions and phases of the Covid-19 crisis, concerns over inflation, affordability and national debt are front of mind for businesses,” Marsh McLennan says.
“With a conflict-driven energy crisis underway and multiple countries facing key shortages of grain, cooking oil and fertilizer, commodity-related challenges are top-ranked for leaders in both emerging markets and advanced economies.”
Click here for the 2022 Executive Opinion Survey.