I recently came across a fascinating report published by Lloyd’s, the world’s leading market for specialist insurance. Lloyd’s Risk Index is based on a survey of global business leaders by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Lloyd’s. It’s the second of its kind, the first having been published in 2009. The survey is global and breathtaking in its scope. It measures the top 50 Priority Risk factors for business – as identified by business leaders – as well as measuring how prepared businesses are to face these identified risks.
The headline for this survey is that business has gone from identifying credit as one of the biggest business risks in 2009 to focusing on talent as one of the biggest risks in 2011 and beyond.
As I read the report (see it here), I am struck that in the top 50 individual risks, as many as 12 have to do with people: talent shortages, impact of regulation, demographic shifts, population growth, industrial/workplace accidents, changing legislation and others.
The respondent profiles are from more than 500 C-Suite executives (although it doesn’t look like CHROs were included) from large global enterprises. The survey rated their attitudes regarding risk and their preparedness to face risks across five key categories:
- Business and strategic risk
- Economic regulatory and market risk
- Political, crime and security risk
- Environmental and health risk
- Natural hazard risk
As the report explains, anything high on an executive’s risk priority list can be considered in terms of a potential critical point of failure of business. So we’re talking big risks here. Identified by board members and C-Suite executives in the largest global businesses in the world.
So of all 50 identified risks, guess what made the number two spot? Talent and Skills Shortages (Including Succession Risk). Woah. Here’s what it looks like:
Talent and Skills Shortages — Priority and Preparedness by Region
The big headline for me is that more than 500 of the business leaders of largest businesses in the world agree that that the talent shortage is real. That it’s big. And it’s global. And it threatens every business.
The second big headline is that this evaluation is being made by business leaders who do not identify themselves as HR Executives. And that’s big. If the board members and C-Suite executives of the largest enterprises in the world believe that the second biggest risk to their success is the looming talent shortage, then HR better be prepared with solutions for critical talent acquisition, retention and development. And they better be prepared today.