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Recession, Retaining Talent Top CEO Concerns for 2019

CEOs view a recession as their biggest external concern for 2019 and cite attracting and retaining talent as their top internal concern, according to a new global survey from The Conference Board.

The findings from C-Suite Challenge 2019 also show that CEOs are uneasy about issues including global political instability, leader development and trade. The report is based on a survey of more than 800 CEOs and 600 other C-Suite executives, primarily from the United States, Asia and Europe. Participants weighed in on the top business challenges facing their organizations in both the year ahead and well into the future.

Key external business concerns for 2019 are:

  • Fears of a recession. Globally, CEOs rank a recession as their number one external concern for 2019. Just a year ago, they considered a recession an afterthought, ranking it their 19th concern, according to the survey.

  • Trade threats. Globally, threats to global trade came in as the second biggest external concern of CEOs. U.S. CEOs rank this issue fourth; China’s CEOs rank it second.

  • Global political instability. Europe’s CEO’s rank global political instability as their number one external concern. Globally, it ranks third.

  • Cyber security. U.S. CEOs rank cyber security as their number one external concern for 2019. China’s CEO rank it as their tenth.

Key internal business concerns for 2019 are:

  • Talent quality and leader development. Globally, across all regions, CEOs rank attracting and retaining top talent as their top internal concern. Developing the next generation of leaders is the third internal concern for CEOs globally.

  • Anxiety around digital technologies. Globally, CEOs say their second biggest internal concern is creating new business models due to disruptive technology. Compliance with data privacy regulations scores relatively high in Europe at eighth, compared to tenth globally.


© 2019 Gale Media, Inc.

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