The United States and China leaders' confidence has plummeted by more than 20 percent.
According to the second annual Worldcom Confidence Index (CI) from The Worldcom Public Relations Group, the confidence of global business leaders plummeted in 2019.
However, Worldcom Africa chair Stephen Forbes said that African leaders are the most confident globally about dealing with influencers. Employee-related topics dominate African leaders’ agenda with upskilling and reskilling having the highest confidence rating. African leaders are 50 percent more confident about connecting with employees than their global peers. Their confidence in dealing with media matters is also very high.
African leaders are concerned about handling a crisis, global warming and extreme weather.
From more than 58,000 leaders, the overall confidence among global CEOs and CMOs is down more than 20 percent. Confidence in the United States is down 51 percent and China is down 21 percent.
Worldcom chairman Roger Hurni said that high levels of uncertainty globally, including talk of trade wars between the United States and China, have not helped assuage the fears of business leaders.
“Our research shows that global trade agreements and tariffs are undermining confidence,” he said.
The study showed that the reason for this fall in confidence might be because leaders are now faced with Brexit, protests in Hong Kong, the increase of global warming, famine, and the re-emergence of diseases like measles.
In 2018, CEOs were most concerned with reaching customers, but 2019 research shows that CEOs are most concerned with influencers, followed by customers and employees.
Leaders are more confident in their abilities to reach shareholders, suppliers and even government officials. According to Hurni, this could suggest that leaders feel they need the support of influencers to help them navigate their way through turbulent times.
The research also showed that leaders have low confidence in their abilities to retain talent.
“This year, they also want to ensure employees have the right skills in an evolving and dynamic workplace,” Hurni said. “What’s also clear from the report is that employment benefits need to be a part of a retention and attraction strategy.”
Other findings include:
- Leaders have concerns about their corporate image and brand reputation and their ability to protect it in a crisis.
- Confidence declines in the ability to satisfy customers
- Government and legislators getting much more attention and their changes are a cause for concern
- A marked shift in attitude to the impact of the way political leaders communicate on social media
- Cybercrime no longer a global cause for concern but a big issue for South American leaders