Digital Readiness, Talent Retention Top Executive Concerns in 2019, New Survey Reveals

Looking to the year ahead, boards and C-suite leaders across the globe are most concerned about their company’s ability to transform its operations and infrastructure to successfully compete with organizations that are “born digital.” This is according to results from the 2019 Executive Perspectives on Top Risks survey conducted by Protiviti in collaboration with North Carolina State University Poole College of Management’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative. Succession challenges, followed by heightened regulatory change and scrutiny, rounded out the top three concerns.

Our survey this year assesses the concerns of 825 board members and executives globally across a variety of industries. This year’s results show a significant increase in digital readiness concerns, jumping from the number 10 position in 2018 to number one in 2019. This jump provides evidence that digital agility and scalability are top-of-mind for businesses. Traditional companies are struggling to compete with newer digital players that can operate more efficiently, are innovative at their core, digitize and deliver new products and services, enhance the customer experience and operate with agile business models.

The risk of succession challenges and the ability to attract and retain talent moved up to number two this year, triggered by a tightening labor market and an increasing need for specialized digital knowledge and subject-matter expertise. Regulatory changes and heightened scrutiny continue to represent a major source of uncertainty, while concerns about economic conditions fell out of the top 10 list of risks for the first time in the seven years during which the research has been conducted.

We will be analyzing specific findings in this year’s comprehensive survey as they relate to industry, geography, executive position and more in future blog posts, webinars and discussions. The executive summary and the full survey are available on our website.

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