The Largest Global Risks to Business in 2016
Every year, the World Economic Forum releases an updated list of the top risks to business based on its survey to 750 members of the organization’s global multistakeholder community. Today’s charts and graphics from Raconteur sum up the essentials of this year’s Global Risks report to provide a neat and tidy introduction to the potential pitfalls that could impact markets around the globe.
To start, here are the top 10 risks to business, sorted by potential severity:
Of the top 10 risks, the WEF has rated “failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation” as the highest impact. In terms of probability, “large-scale involuntary migration” took the cake.
In general, economic risks such as “energy price shock”, “fiscal crises”, and “asset bubble collapse” are fairly prominent. Environmental risks are also high, with the organization foreseeing potential “water crises” and the possibility of an “ecosystem collapse” in the near future.
No technological or geopolitical risks made the top 10 in terms of impact, though you will note in the first map that cyberattacks are the most likely risk for North America.
Risks of High Concern
The results get more interesting as we pare down responses based on two very different time horizons. Here’s the risks that were of the highest concern to business leaders within the next 18 months:
Societal, geopolitical, and economic risks take center stage. These contrast greatly with the following list, which sums up the risks of highest concern over a longer time horizon:
It’s all environmental and societal, with concerns about food, peak water, and the climate dominating the bunch.
Risks to Business Over Time
Curious about how the risks to business have changed over time?
The following graphic shows how the top risks by likelihood, and how the list has evolved from 2012 until today:
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs Since 2020
How bad are the current layoffs in the tech sector? This visual reveals the 20 biggest tech layoffs since the start of the pandemic.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs This Decade
The events of the last few years could not have been predicted by anyone. From a global pandemic and remote work as the standard, to a subsequent hiring craze, rising inflation, and now, mass layoffs.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, essentially laid off the equivalent of a small town just weeks ago, letting go of 12,000 people—the biggest layoffs the company has ever seen in its history. Additionally, Amazon and Microsoft have also laid off 10,000 workers each in the last few months, not to mention Meta’s 11,000.
This visual puts the current layoffs in the tech industry in context and ranks the 20 biggest tech layoffs of the 2020s using data from the tracker, Layoffs.fyi.
The Top 20 Layoffs of the 2020s
Since 2020, layoffs in the tech industry have been significant, accelerating in 2022 in particular. Here’s a look at the companies that laid off the most people over the last three years.
|Rank||Company||# Laid Off||% of Workforce||As of|
Layoffs were high in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the global economy and forcing staff reductions worldwide. After that, things were steady until the economic uncertainty of last year, which ultimately led to large-scale layoffs in tech—with many of the biggest cuts happening in the past three months.
The Cause of Layoffs
Most workforce slashings are being blamed on the impending recession. Companies are claiming they are forced to cut down the excess of the hiring boom that followed the pandemic.
Additionally, during this hiring craze competition was fierce, resulting in higher salaries for workers, which is now translating in an increased need to trim the fat thanks to the current economic conditions.
Of course, the factors leading up to these recent layoffs are more nuanced than simple over-hiring plus recession narrative. In truth, there appears to be a culture shift occurring at many of America’s tech companies. As Rani Molla and Shirin Ghaffary from Recode have astutely pointed out, tech giants really want you to know they’re behaving like scrappy startups again.
Twitter’s highly publicized headcount reduction in late 2022 occurred for reasons beyond just macroeconomic factors. Elon Musk’s goal of doing more with a smaller team seemed to resonate with other founders and executives in Silicon Valley, providing an opening for others in tech space to cut down on labor costs as well. In just one example, Mark Zuckerberg hailed 2023 as the “year of efficiency” for Meta.
Meanwhile, over at Google, 12,000 jobs were put on the chopping block as the company repositions itself to win the AI race. In the words of Google’s own CEO:
“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today… We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.”– Sundar Pichai
The Bigger Picture in the U.S. Job Market
Beyond the tech sector, job openings continue to rise. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed a total of 11 million job openings across the U.S., an increase of almost 7% month-over-month. This means that for every unemployed worker in America right now there are 1.9 job openings available.
Additionally, hiring increased significantly in January, with employers adding 517,000 jobs. While the BLS did report a decrease in openings in information-based industries, openings are increasing rapidly especially in the food services, retail trade, and construction industries.
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