Business leaders reveal biggest challenges

Skills shortages and managing cyber security threats are among the top challenges of Australian business leaders in 2022.

27 May 2022 

KPMG surveyed 400 Australian CEOs in late 2021 to understand what their most pressing concerns were moving into the current calendar year. 

The report noted that the response to the coronavirus of closing our borders is now leaving businesses across the board urgently requiring additional people resources

“But the challenge is more than just simple numbers; it is also about skills and talent, and this extends beyond new hires and into re‑training and re‑purposing existing staff as market demand increases and evolves,” it said. 

The top five challenges of Australian business leaders are:

1) Talent acquisition, retention and re/upskilling to meet a more digitised future (69%)

2) Dealing with cyber vulnerability (50%)

3) The challenges and benefits of employees working remotely (48%)

4) Digital transformation and optimisation and extracting organisational value from it (44%)

5) Dealing with evolving regulatory processes, reporting changes and impacts (34%)

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The executives were asked what they saw as the key challenges facing their organisations both in 2022 and in the next 3 5 years. Overwhelmingly talent (including acquisition, retention and re skilling/upskilling to meet a more digitised future) was this year’s biggest challenge, with 69% nominating this issue, ahead of the second placed concern, cyber vulnerability (50%). 

“The rise of talent as the key issue, as Australia emerges from COVID 19 lockdowns, is shown clearly by comparison with previous editions of this survey,” the KPMG report explained. 

“In the January 2020 report it came 10th while in 2019, business leaders placed it 15th in their priority list. In third place for this year was the challenge (and benefits) associated with remote working, while digital transformation (optimisation and extracting organisational value from it) came in fourth at 44%.”

But the key difference was in the longevity of respective top four issues – while digital (48%) and talent (47%) remained the top two concerns among executives looking ahead 3-5 years, cyber vulnerability fell to 35% and the remote working issue plummeted in perceived importance to just 10% in the medium term.

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