Talent attraction and retention, top concern for 75% of CEOs

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Attracting and retaining talent is the most concerning issue for 75% of CEOs in the coming months. However, only 3 out of 10 believe their company is well prepared for this challenge. Business resilience (73%), consumer focus (69%), digital/IT transformation (66%), or the impact of geopolitics on the economic context (60%) are their other major concerns. These are some of the findings of the new 2024 Corporate Affairs Forecast ‘Corporate activism in the face of adversity’ report published by LLYC based on two surveys of senior executives in Spain and Latin America. The report analyzed the digital conversation of over 300 executives from 11 countries and consulted up to 40 trend reports prepared by global firms.

The document concludes that the era of certainty is over, and we have settled into uncertainty. We are witnessing a volatile scenario influenced by geopolitics, artificial intelligence, and polarization that will impact talent management, consumer relations, and social issues. This will require resilient and activist business leadership.

Jorge López Zafra, Partner and Managing Director of Corporate Affairs for Europe at LLYC: “In today’s business world, managing reputation is crucial. Building trust among stakeholders and nurturing business relationships is more important than ever. Active and effective leadership is crucial to guiding organizations in dynamic environments and adapting to emerging trends. Fostering public-private collaboration is a key strategy, enhancing synergies and addressing collective challenges. Talent management demands innovative approaches to attract, retain, and develop relevant skills. All these practices are imperative for the sustained success of businesses in the changing and challenging landscape.”

LLYC’s report highlights eight trends that will shape business activity in 2024:

1. From geopolitics to geo-economics: The economic consequences of conflicts such as those in Ukraine and Gaza, among others, or the electoral calendar with an eye on the U.S., have given rise to the feeling among company executives that 2024 will be a period of weakness that will weigh on profits.

75% of executives believe that the price boom will have a negative impact on their margins and sales. Fifty-nine percent say that the political situation could greatly impact their business, and 58% say that hyper-regulation will take its toll on their business. The majority also warns of difficulties in financing their investments.

2. AI integration everywhere: AI will have a disruptive impact and affect process automation, data analytics, recruitment, and strategic decision-making. As a result, nearly 100% of executives surveyed see it as necessary for their company to focus on cyber threats. 7 out of 10 believe that generative AI will be a key tool for automation, and 6 out of 10 for process efficiency.

3. Managing polarization: Polarization causes political instability and affects the business context. Despite its risk, it is not the primary concern, and just over 50% of senior managers surveyed believe that polarization will grow in 2024.

4. The new talent engagement: The struggle to attract and retain talent is the top priority for CEOs, and there are three keys to improving the situation: enhancing flexible work models, strengthening internal communication, and developing and implementing upskilling programs.

Empowering consumers: Three out of four interviewees consider putting the focus on the consumer a priority, being the third most relevant aspect. Sixty-three percent of executives feel very prepared for this challenge, while 37% see room for improvement. The key to doing so is to have a deeper understanding of the consumer to offer them a great experience throughout the customer journey.

5. Climate crisis: Companies have faced an unprecedented volume of new environmental regulations. 52% of respondents feel their companies are only moderately prepared to deal with this problem. Only 1 in 3 feel they are very prepared for the challenge of climate change in 2024.

6. Resilience for business survival: Economic growth projections for 2024 are weak. 95% of senior executives believe that business resilience is one of the challenges companies will face this year, and 63% believe their company is well prepared to face whatever this year brings.

7. Activist CEOs: the digital presence of the CEOs analyzed with a specific study has a clear favorable impact on the reputation of the companies they represent. However, top managers are not taking full advantage of the potential to have a solid social media presence. As such, there is ample room for improvement in this area.

“The findings of the ‘Corporate activism in the face of adversity’ clearly show that senior business management must solidify and expand their social media presence to better connect with the moment we live in,” says Iñaki Ortega, Managing Director of LLYC Madrid and coordinator of the 2024 Corporate Affaris Forecast. “As AI permeates all aspects of our lives, geopolitics has become an economic issue, and polarization continues to rise, it is now urgent to adopt a new business agenda that aligns with the current reality. Otherwise, consumers, employees, and society as a whole may withdraw their support and move away from them.”

Access the full 2024 Corporate Affairs Forecast here.