Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2024 and 2034

Key issues discussed in the boardroom and C-suite

The ever-changing risk landscape and the overall perceived magnitude and severity of risks should prompt boards and executives to scrutinise closely the approaches they use to remain focused on emerging risk issues and to integrate those insights into strategic decision-making.

The 12th annual Top Risks Survey report highlights top-of-mind issues for directors and executives around the globe over the next year - 2024 - and a decade later – 2034.

Now is an opportune time for C-suite executives and their boards to examine closely where to invest – not only to innovate and grow but also to manage risks, preserve market image and branding, and foster a strong recovery when the economy is free of headwinds.

Given the long-term risk landscape, two questions arise for leaders:

  • What steps should we undertake or continue over the near term to ensure our organisation is sufficiently agile and resilient to thrive in a decade of disruption?
  • If our organisation is being disrupted, how would we know and when would we know it?
The focus today is on agility and resilience as much as it is on prevention and detection.

executives identify “cyber threats” as a long-term Top 5 risk.

of leaders flag "economic conditions" as a top risk in 2024.

of leaders identify “attracting and retaining talent” as a top risk in 2034.

Periodic risk management is insufficient in today’s rapidly changing environment.

Top 10 Risks in 2024 and 2034

  1. Economic conditions, including inflationary pressures
  2. Ability to attract, develop and retain top talent, manage shifts in labour expectations, and address succession challenges
  3. Cyber threats
  4. Third-party risks
  5. Heightened regulatory changes and scrutiny
  6. Adoption of digital technologies requiring new skills in short supply
  7. Existing operations and legacy IT infrastructure unable to meet performance expectations as well as “born digital” competitors
  8. Change in current interest rate environment
  9. Increases in labour costs
  10. Ensuring privacy and compliance with growing identity protection expectations
  1. Cyber threats
  2. Ability to attract, develop and retain top talent, manage shifts in labour expectations, and address succession challenges
  3. Adoption of digital technologies requiring new skills in short supply
  4. Rapid speed of disruptive innovations enabled by new and emerging technologies and/or other market forces
  5. Heightened regulatory changes and scrutiny
  6. Third-party risks
  7. Economic conditions, including inflationary pressures
  8. Existing operations and legacy IT infrastructure unable to meet performance expectations as well as “born digital” competitors
  9. Increases in labour costs
  10. Inability to utilise rigorous data analytics to achieve market intelligence and increase productivity and efficiency

Analysis Breakdown

By Industry

5 of the 7 industry groups rate concerns about the economy as a top 5 risk concern

There is a marked contrast in perspectives across industry groups about specific risk concerns, supporting the view that industry context is important to consider.

But given that certain types of organisations’ business models may not fit neatly into a single industry category, reviewing differences in risk concerns across multiple industries may help tease out risks that otherwise could be overlooked.

By Executive Position

4 of the top 5 risks are the same for directors and CEOs for 2024

The results reflect how different roles offer varying perspectives when assessing risks in disparate environments and over longer versus shorter time horizons.

The variation in perspectives calls for more discussion in the C-suite and boardroom to better understand the distinctive views of the risk landscape and obtain a clearer view of the organisation’s risk profile.

By Geography

All 8 geographic regions include succession planning, talent acquisition and retention as “Top 5” risks

The variation in the nature and types of risks included in the top five risks for the eight geographic regions is worth noting.

  • Africa HQ Organisations
  • Australia/New Zealand HQ Organisations
  • Asia HQ Organisations
  • Europe HQ Organisations
  • India HQ Organisations
  • Latin America/South America HQ Organisations
  • Middle East HQ Organisations
  • North America HQ Organisations

By Organisation Size & Type

3 of the top 5 risks for 2024 are the same across all size groups: talent, the economy and cyber threats.

Organisations of all sizes perceive the overall, long-term magnitude and severity of risks as higher than two years ago, even though the near-term risk assessment has decreased slightly.

This suggests some general improvement in risk conditions year-over-year, but long-term caution remains.

Organisation Type: 

  • Governmental organisations 
  • Not-for-profit organisations 
  • Privately held for-profit companies with IPO plans 
  • Privately held for-profit companies with no IPO plans 
  • Public companies

Organisation Size:  

  • Revenues $10 billion or greater  
  • Revenues $1 billion to $9.99 billion  
  • Revenues $100 million to $999 million  
  • Revenues less than $100 million

Relevant Top Risks Solutions

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