What is keeping the C-suite up at night?

Organisations are facing growing challenges around technology and talent shortages

What is keeping the C-suite up at night?

From improving customer experience to leveraging data and AI for enhanced productivity, the C-suite have the daunting task to enhance nearly every aspect of their organisation through technology, according to David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half.

“However, it is not simply about implementing new operating systems and processes,” he added.

“They must also drive behavioural change, cultivate a workforce who can leverage the potential of the emerging tech, and shore up their organisation against the evolving threats and restrictions specific to their industry.”

Independent research by Robert Half shows that Australian business leaders will be facing a broad spectrum of concerns in their role framed by global macro-economic tensions, evolving challenges attached to digital transformation, and a deepening talent-shortage.  

Technology continues to dominate
More than four in ten (43%) Australian business leaders highlight technological changes as one of their primary external concerns, highlighting the continued dominance of technology on the business agenda.

While the business advantages of digital transformation are well-known, business leaders are faced with many hurdles in order to leverage the potential of tech opportunities for stronger business results.

These include sourcing technically-skilled talent in a skill-short market and adapting existing workforces to change while upskilling them to meet future business needs.

A failure to do so will not only see businesses miss out on internal benefits, but also fall behind competitors and lose a long-term competitive edge. 

Managing change while optimising growth
As business leaders focus on leveraging tech advances, there is increasing pressure on management to find ways to drive long-term change and manage the risks and regulations that evolve in parallel to these changes.

Of business leaders surveyed, this is reflected in a shared concern over the external threats of technological and regulatory changes (43% and 39%, respectively).

Business leaders in different fields are faced with unique internal concerns specific to their role, with CIOs most concerned over cyber-security threats (51%), and AI and machine learning (46%) while CFOs are concerned primarily over managing and delivering growth (46%), and internal/external audit costs (40%).

Talent gap impedes organisational productivity
When it comes to talent management, talent retention and managing staff turnover remain one of the top three biggest talent management concerns for almost one-third (32%) of Australian managers.

Improving productivity is cited as a primary concern by 29% of Australian managers, followed by 28% who refer to finding the right training for staff and managing workloads respectively.

More than one quarter (27%) identify staff attraction as part of their top three talent management concerns.

Geopolitical and economic challenges framing business confidence

Global economic volatility, lowering interest rates, and uncertain trade policies underpinned by the US-China trade war and impact of Brexit have seen Australian business leaders take a cautious view of their global growth outlook.

These concerns are exacerbated by uncertain domestic forecasts, with GDP growth stagnating alongside falling consumer confidence and expenditure.

Indeed, 38% of Australian business leaders consider economic uncertainty to be one of the top three biggest challenges that they will face in their role until 2020 followed by 37% who point to the growth of emerging markets, thereby increasing competition. And almost one in three (31%) highlight geopolitical changes as part of their top three external concerns.

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