Growth is the fuel that feeds the engine of business. It is an assumed priority of every executive I speak to. Our discussions almost never revolve around the need for it, but rather what creates growth in the future and possibly what could threaten its existence. And the economic impact of COVID-19 has threatened growth in many sectors.
As businesses have dealt with the impact of the global pandemic – moving from reaction through to resilience, and recovery - the list of issues to consider to keep their business going is long and varied. From capital and liquidity issues to workplace health and safety, cyber security, to remote working and changing customer behavior, COVID-19 is presenting challenges on many fronts. But when we asked CEOs in the KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook COVID-19 Special Edition about the greatest risk to their growth over the next three years, their response pointed to what they are focusing on in the new reality and it was very different than what they believed at the beginning of the pandemic.
In January and February this year, at a time when no one knew what the full impact of COVID-19 would have on the global economy, we asked CEOs what are their top risks to growth over the next 3 years. Climate change, return to territorialism and cyber security topped the list. However, when we asked the same question 6 months later, when leaders now are turning their minds to how their business will grow in the new reality, ‘talent risk’ moved from 11th to the #1 risk to growth.