Being a CEO or the owner of a growing business comes with an evolution of stress and responsibilities. The problems that plague these professionals change from year to year, as found in KPMG’s annual survey of Chief Executives.
The 2024 version of KPMG’s Keeping Us Awake at Night report has seen fresh challenges rise to the top. The report surveyed CEOs across industries but there were some clear areas where concerns are shared:
Top 5 concerns for Australian CEOs
While it sat at fourth place on this list of concerns at the start of 2023, the rise of cyber attacks has brought this issue to the forefront of many executive’s minds. Hacking can affect customers, revenue and reputation, and businesses are under so much pressure to stay one step ahead when it comes to digital security.
While finding talent remains a top concern for CEOs, it has shifted from the number one concern in 2023 to the second spot for 2024.
The increased rate of immigration in 2023 is starting to take the edge off the talent squeeze. To add to this, there was an increase in companies going under, which helped to even out worker shortages. Interestingly, there were more insolvencies in Australia during the 2022/3 financial year than in 2020/21.
Different industries are experiencing talent shortages at different levels. The freight and logistics industry, for example, seems to have chronic issues filling roles and is having to pay increasingly more for workers as a result.
The third top concern is regulation in new-tech areas such as AI, machine learning and quantum computing. The goalposts are moving rapidly, and CEOs are concerned about keeping up with unprecedented technologies and the rules surrounding them.
These days, it seems that no sooner has a new technology been integrated, something comes along to make it redundant. It can be difficult to figure out what to invest in, and there is also the stress of helping team members adapt to new systems and processes.
AI presents its own challenges, with some businesses being forced to pivot yet again to avoid being replaced by a machine.
While inflation is beginning to ease slightly, the effects are still being felt. For example, CPI Transportation in Australia was reported to increase to 130.70 points in the third quarter of 2023, which was an all time high.
Businesses have to think creatively to manage costs while staying competitive. While AI and automation are a concern, they also present opportunities to minimise costs. Distributors and ecommerce brands, for example, can look for ways to automate warehouse and inventory management processes to save money.
Other concerns for CEOs
CEOs are also understandably worried about global unrest, with wars in the Middle East and Eastern Europe still wreaking havoc and the effects filtering around the world thanks to higher fuel prices and supply chain delays. An issue at present is being dubbed the ‘Red Sea Shipping Crisis’; Yemen-based Houthi militants have launched more than 20 attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea over recent months in a show of support for Hamas.
The KPMG survey also showed that 12 per cent of CEOs list de-risking supply chains as a major concern and ongoing issues make this very understandable.
Finally, maintaining ESG standards is keeping CEOs up at night as consumers hold businesses more accountable for sticking to their social and environmental policies.
We’re here to help!
When you own or operate a business, there is always something to be worried about. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding ways to maximise productivity, reduce costs and ensure sustainable profits, while keeping great people and maintaining market reputation.
At EFS, we help our clients by improving workflows and finding cost-efficiencies related to freight and deliveries. As leading freight consultants, we understand the challenges our clients are facing, have a wide network of industry connections and can help connect you with optimal solutions.
Contact us to help manage your freight costs and requirements today.