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The top concerns for Northern business leaders

We take a deeper dive into the 2023 UK Business Risk Report to explore the insights provided by Northern business leaders like you.

Their five biggest concerns

  1. Financial uncertainty (42%)
  2. Employee health and wellbeing (35%)
  3. Supply chain reliance and disruption (24%)
  4. Cyber events (24%)
  5. Health and safety of the public and employees (23%)

What steps are they taking alleviate these concerns?

 Northern leaders have reviewed the following in the last 12 months:  Northern leaders plan to review the following in the next 12 months:
 Health and safety policy and procedures (56%)  Employee health and benefits offering (37%)
 Employee health and benefits offering (51%)  Workplace culture and leadership (35%)
 Insurance coverage (51%)  Health and safety policy and procedures (33%)
 Cyber security controls (49%)  Cyber security controls (30%)
 HR and employment law policy and procedures (48%)  HR and employment law policy and procedures (29%)

How confident are Northern business leaders?

Expect the following to increase in the next 12 months:

  • Productivity (54%)
  • Capital expenditure (47%)
  • Profitability (46%)

Expect the following to decrease in the next 12 months:

  • Staffing levels (21%)
  • Turnover (17%)
  • Trade within the EU (14%) / Late payments (14%)

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) confidence

  • 60% understand it
  • 54% incorporate it in their strategy
  • 52% review related credentials of suppliers

“Despite financial uncertainty being their biggest concern, only 17% of business leaders in the North expect turnover to decrease. They intend to maintain a competitive advantage through productivity, profitability and investment. Organisations are streamlining to become more efficient, setting themselves and their teams the challenge of working differently and smarter.

With these planned changes to their workforce and activities, it is no surprise to see that a majority of business leaders have reviewed (or intend to review in the next 12 months) people risks such as health and safety, HR and employment law, and employee benefit offerings. This is an ever-changing legislative landscape, and I strongly advise seeking guidance on how these changes may impact your business. Our colleagues at Marsh Advisory offer dedicated services in this area.

Our survey also highlighted cyber events as a ‘top five’ risk, and tackling cyber security ranks highly on the ‘to do’ lists of senior leaders. This is mirrored by our own insurance industry experience. As cyberattacks continue to rise in frequency, so do related insurance claims. Insurers are increasingly scrutinising a business’s cyber operating environment, making the adoption of specific risk controls a minimum requirement for dedicated cyber-coverage. We have compiled a list of 12 key areas for you to focus on which we’ve rounded up for you here.

Lastly, a sizeable majority of Northern business leaders are now confident in their understanding of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). Stakeholders are increasingly judging organisations based on their ESG credentials – and it’s interesting to note that 52% of our survey respondents already factor ESG questions into their own supply chain reviews. Being able to articulate your position and give an indication of your organisation’s ESG ambitions is becoming important. Take our ESG Pulse Check for a quick and easy way to assess your ESG programme.”

Allan McPherson, Regional Director

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Northern insights