A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Jan 3, 2022

Why 72 Percent of CEOs Fear They Will Lose Their Jobs In 2022

Good enough in 2020 and 2021 is not going to cut it in 2022. 

Almost three-quarters of CEOs surveyed fear they will lose their jobs this year, despite the on-going pandemic, because impatient investors and consumers believe that threat is being contained. They want continued growth and enhanced customer service even as labor market disruptions and global uncertainty impact results.  While that is why they are paid the big bucks, it may not feel like it to those whose heads are on the line. JL 

Bloomberg and Kate Marino in Axios report:

72% of chief executives are worried about losing their jobs in 2022 because of business disruptions, tracking with the 94% of bosses who say their corporate models need to be overhauled within three years. Supply chain, labor market and digitalisation topped executives’ list of concerns. While the global pandemic exacerbated the situation, Covid-19 was missing from the top 10 concerns for 2022, with only 3% of executives citing the virus. Leaders who were relieved to survive 2020 discovered in 2021 that, instead of pressures ebbing, they were mired in a continuing pandemic as shareholders demanded growth. 57% fear their company isn't adapting fast enough.

The C-suite is a bundle of nerves this winter. A new survey shows that 72 per cent of chief executives are worried about losing their jobs in 2022 because of business disruptions, tracking closely with the 94 per cent of bosses who say their corporate models need to be overhauled within three years.

“That’s eye-poppingly high,” says Simon Freakley, chief executive of management consulting firm AlixPartners, the source of the survey. “Disruptive forces like the supply chain and labour market are all playing out simultaneously.”

Big bosses are always worried about losing their jobs, especially at public companies, where the potential for a sudden adios comes with the cushy chair. But the fear-of-imminent-firing figure surged from 52 per cent in 2020, which itself was a high-anxiety year.

AlixPartners took the pulse of 3,000 chief executives and executives at the director level and above across 10 industries, half with revenue of more than $1 billion. The pool was dispersed across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.


Supply chain, labour market and digitalisation topped executives’ list of concerns. While the global pandemic exacerbated the situation, Covid-19 itself was notably missing from the top 10 concerns for 2022, with only 3 per cent of executives citing the virus as their main worry.

Mr Freakley, in an interview, said he has a theory as to what is driving the fear of being ousted: leaders who were relieved to survive 2020 with their business intact discovered in 2021 that, instead of pressures ebbing, they were mired in a continuing pandemic even as shareholders demanded growth.

“They realised that their business models, which have served them well for a number of years, are largely now not fit for the purpose” and they’re rushing to build local, regional and global supply chains, Mr Freakley said.

“We went from what was a rolling sea of worry about economic cycles to a choppy sea of all these disruptive forces.”

So far, the anxiety is not yet showing up in data. Chief executive departures in the US — regardless of whether they were fired or only retired or moved to different jobs — rose 1.1 per cent through November from the same period in 2020, researcher Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported.

 

Axios

Powerful CEOs worry about their job security as much as the rest of us do — in fact, maybe even more.

The big picture: An eye-popping 72% of CEOs are worried about losing their jobs due to the disruptions facing their industries, according to a new report out today from the global consulting firm AlixPartners.

  • The intrigue: That figure jumped 20 percentage points compared to just a year ago, when 52% of CEOs told AlixPartners they were anxious about job security.

Why it matters: The frenetic pace of change in businesses and the world has accelerated since the onset of the pandemic — leading to a spike in CEO anxiety.

  • Case in point: 94% of executives say their business models need to change within the next three years — but 57% fear their company isn't adapting fast enough.

"A CEO’s job is stressful in the best of times ... These statistics are telling, about the pressure that senior executives are feeling to move, and move quickly, to be agile to pivot into new strategies," AlixPartners CEO Simon Freakley tells Axios.

State of play: Overhauling global supply chains for today and the future, and reimagining recruitment and retention while skills needs change rapidly, were top of mind for CEOs this year.

  • That’s while digital transformation reshapes the workflow for companies — and even the disruptors get disrupted, Freakley says.

The bottom line: No need to pity CEOs — they're paid hundreds of times the average worker's wages to worry more than the rest of us. But it’s a sign of today's increasingly complex business landscape that CEO anxiety is on the rise.

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