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Cybersecurity, health of the global economy, energy price shock and terrorist attacks are some of the top risks that concern businesses and may threaten their ability to operate, according to results from a new survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF) published Wednesday.
The survey, conducted annually by the WEF's strategic partners Marsh & McLennan Companies and Zurich Insurance Group, highlighted the following ten risks that businesses are presently concerned about:
While concerns about the overall health of the global economy continue to dominate the list, the report found concerns around cybersecurity risks rising in importance.
"Business leaders in many of world's largest economies now rank cyber as their top risk," John Drzik, president of Marsh Global Risk & Digital, said in a press statement. "Companies need to rigorously analyze how these threats could impact their operations and take appropriate risk mitigation and resiliency measures."
Results from the survey found that respondents across North America, East Asia and Pacific regions were most concerned by cyber attacks and asset bubbles.
Meanwhile, unemployment, fiscal crises and the failure of a nation's government to provide stability are the top three risks facing businesses globally,
The data from the Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) survey, drawn from over 12,411 executives across 136 countries was conducted earlier this year between February and June. The survey asked respondents to identify the five biggest risks to doing business in their respective countries. The risks identified were spread across economic, geopolitical, social and technological areas that could impact the functioning of corporates over the next 10 years.
Some of the other risks identified by the respondents included energy price shock, profound social instability, failure of financial mechanism or institution, failure of critical infrastructure, inter-state conflict and terrorist attacks.
"Whilst economic growth and technological developments create new opportunities for business and countries, geopolitical risks and events have led to uncertainties which raise questions about how to manage resilience in uncertain times," John Scott, chief risk officer of commercial insurance at Zurich, said in a press statement.
Scott further explained that looking at the survey results, it appears that in the medium-term, business leaders are focusing on social and economic risks but it is important to remain prepared for any environmental and technological risks as well.
In terms of regions, while business leaders in Europe highlighted the failure of financial mechanisms or institution as pressing risks, in South Asia, failure of urban planning and failure of critical infrastructure were marked among the key potential threats.
Respondents across North America, the Middle East and Northern Africa were seen to be worried about a threat of potential terrorist attack. Meanwhile, risks associated with the failure of climate change adaptation saw very little concern among respondents. According to the results, only Canadian executives put climate change in their top risks.