Hiring and retaining talent CEOs' greatest concern

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The biggest internal concern for CEOs in 2020 is attracting and retaining top talent, according to non-profit research group The Conference Board

This is due to a tight labour market regardless of company size or location, the CEOs said.

Its research has also shown that chief executives around the world deem the risk of a recession their biggest external concern in 2020. This fear has been a top global concern for CEOs for two years in a row, with US CEOs raising it from their third biggest concern to their first.

Rebecca Lea Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, said: “The global challenge in acquiring and retaining talent requires companies to be more strategic – knowing not only what qualities and skills to recruit for but also how to recruit more efficiently and effectively.”

The CEOs surveyed also felt that trade uncertainty, political instability and more intense competition from disruptive technologies will be causes for concern in 2020.

New technologies have led to CEOs identifying the creation of new business models as the second most important internal issue, and more innovative cultures as the third.

Developing ‘next-gen’ leaders was ranked as the fourth, the fifth was the tight labour market, and the implementation of equal pay for equal work ranked as their sixth top internal priority.

Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board, said: “The ongoing concerns about recession risk among business leaders reflects the slowing economy of the past year and the uncertainties about the outcome of trade disputes and other policy concerns.”

The Conference Board has conducted a survey annually since 1999. This year’s included 750 CEOs and 800 other C-suite executives from Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States.

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