A recent survey conducted by RRA has highlighted the top concerns over talent of UK business leaders amidst increasing criticism towards the Bank of England’s handling of inflation and support for business growth.

The study, which surveyed 174 NEDs, CEOs, CxOs, and next-generation leaders, reveals that the availability of key talent and skills is their primary worry, with 73 percent of respondents expressing concern. Following closely behind is the apprehension surrounding uncertain economic growth, with 68 percent of participants citing it as a pressing issue—an alarming increase of 22 percent compared to the previous year.

The survey, known as the Global Leadership Monitor, encompassed responses from over 1,500 business leaders worldwide, providing additional insights:

Among global business leaders, 73 percent identified economic uncertainty as the primary external threat to their organizations, marking a 7 percent increase from the previous six months. Moreover, 72 percent of respondents emphasized the availability of talent as a key concern, reflecting a 3 percent rise compared to the second half of 2022.

Availability of key talent is a huge concern

Within the UK, the availability of key talent and skills remained the foremost concern for business leaders, with 73 percent expressing unease. Close behind was the issue of uncertain economic growth, with 68 percent of respondents highlighting their worries—an alarming YoY increase of 22 percent.

Despite these concerns, a significant majority of UK CEOs (61%) do not anticipate staff reductions in the near future. In fact, 72 percent of CEOs have increased their investments in retaining critical talent over the past six months, demonstrating their commitment to workforce stability.

The survey also revealed a notable shift in the perception of stakeholders. UK CEOs now view consumers, investors, and employees as having the most significant impact on organizations in the next five years. The importance of investors has grown, with 61 percent of CEOs recognizing their major influence—an increase from 43 percent since the first half of 2022. In contrast, the proportion citing the government dropped from 48 percent to 31 percent.

A focus on retaining staff is key

The survey results underscore the critical importance of talent availability and the challenging economic landscape for UK business leaders. Despite their concerns, the majority remain committed to retaining their workforce and have implemented strategies to retain essential talent. Moreover, the increasing influence of investors compared to the government emphasizes the need for policies and initiatives that address talent shortages, foster economic stability, and create an environment conducive to business growth.

These findings serve as a call to action for policymakers and institutions to prioritize initiatives that attract and retain skilled professionals, thereby enabling UK businesses to navigate uncertainties and thrive in the long term.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.