While the fear of getting fired has risen sharply among C-suite executives due to various disruptive forces buffeting their businesses, a mere 3 percent identified COVID-19 as their top worry, according to the CEO of management consultancy AlixPartners.
In a Dec. 27 interview with Yahoo Finance, AlixPartners CEO Simon Freakley previewed some of the topline findings of the forthcoming 2022 AlixPartners Disruption Index, which surveyed over 3,000 senior executives globally across multiple industries to find out what keeps them awake at night.
Freakley told the outlet that AlixPartners’ third annual disruption survey, due for release in January, will show that nearly three-quarters of CEOs feel their jobs are at risk.
“The 72 percent—almost three-quarters—of CEOs feel that their jobs are in jeopardy, a massive 20 point jump since last year, is really significant,” Freakley said.
Last year’s disruption index showed that 51 percent C-suite executives worried about losing their jobs due to the disruption facing their industries, while 25 percent identified COVID-19 as their top concern. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2.
“When we asked people what was keeping them awake at night, COVID didn’t even make the top 10,” Freakley said of this year’s findings, adding that pandemic anxiety came in at number 13.
“In the top 10 were issues like the impact of artificial intelligence in their sectors, governance issues coming from new regulation, environmental issues, how they were responsible but still profitable, all of these concerns are in the top 10,” he added.
The prior 2021 disruption index showed that new or evolving competition or business models was the main worry (34 percent), followed by technological advances as well as data privacy and security issues (33 percent each), and automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics (32 percent).
Freakley said that, while it remains a concern, COVID-19 has been relegated to a more routine disruptive force.
“I think the learning from this has been that COVID, whilst an enormous disruption in our times, is just another disruption,” Freakley told Yahoo Finance. “There are many, many disruptions hitting businesses being managed by executive teams. This is just another one.”
At the same time, a whopping 94 percent of CEOs told AlixPartners for the 2022 survey that they feel their business models must fundamentally change over the next three years for them to stay relevant in their respective markets.
While there has been no shortage of concern expressed by policymakers and public health officials about the pandemic generally, and the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant specifically, Freakley’s remarks suggest executives have become more adept at managing the disruptive impact of the outbreak.