International SOS has published its ‘Risk Outlook 2024’ report, which highlights the major risks expected to impact employees in 2024.
The Risk Outlook 2024 report draws together the insights of relevant security/health experts from the Workforce Resilience Council and a global survey of senior risk management professionals, conducted by Ipsos MORI.
The top five predictions made in the report are:
Running on empty – the perma-crisis takes its toll
The report points to burnout as the predicted leading concern in this area for organizations in 2024, with 80% of surveyed global senior risk professionals expecting that it will have a significant impact on businesses in the next year. However only 41% feel that their organizations are equipped to deal with this issue.
The report’s findings noted that organizations have experienced a noticeable surge in stress-related absences. Surveyed respondents emphasise that the perceived risk level for the next 12 months is the highest ever recorded – 65% believe that global risks will continue to grow in 2024 – compounding their crisis management fatigue beyond pre-pandemic levels.
Climate change creating impacts
One in four organizations reported that they have already seen their operations affected by events attributed to climate change and, this year, the second biggest category out of the thousands of alerts issued by International SOS in 2023 was extreme weather events.
This comes as only half of respondents say they have factored climate change into their health and security plans, emphasising how vulnerable many organizations could be. This issue is certainly not going away, as approximately three-quarters of businesses report extreme weather as a challenge to their employees and operations in the coming year.
Additionally, as the global weather and climate profile changes in many regions, so does the health risk environment.
Global instability deepens
The second-highest security concern identified by respondents in this year’s survey revolves around geopolitical tensions. As a striking three out of four respondents expressed the belief that their organizations will face significant impacts in the coming year. Notably, the ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza, as well as the persistent conflict in Ukraine, contribute to this unstable global environment. Civil and social unrest, coupled with political instability, rank as the next largest worries for organizations. The unpredictable nature of these events highlights the need for businesses to adopt robust security measures, proactively navigating the challenges arising from the dynamic global geopolitical landscape.
AI – risks and opportunities
AI has inspiring potential to create a new industrial revolution. However, for now, it further complicates the vital task of sorting reliable information from misinformation and deliberate disinformation for businesses. More than two out of five respondents of the Risk Outlook research said they were worried about the effect of medical misinformation and disinformation on their workforces.
The new employment contract
Three-quarters of surveyed organizations report increased employee expectations for Duty of Care. A similar number are now also shouldering duties previously seen as government responsibilities, including two-thirds who acknowledge extending responsibilities to support workers’ families in times of need. This underlines how the era of offering only basic occupational health services for work-related conditions is over. While still essential, occupational health provisions must be enhanced with diverse support and interventions to safeguard and nurture employees globally.