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Emerging Risks

REPORT: Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2024 and a Decade Later

Executive Perspectives on Top Risks 2024

This 12th annual survey, “Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2024 and a Decade Later,” conducted by the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative and global consulting firm, Protiviti, reports risk insights from a survey of more than 1,143 board members and C-suite executives from organizations worldwide in a variety of industries. Respondents rated 36 macroeconomic, strategic and operational risks on a sliding 1-10 scale across one-year (2024) and one-decade (2034) time horizons.

Top Risk Themes

The survey measures the most pressing business risks over the next year as well as the next decade. Economic pressures and persistent inflation have unseated the war for talent as the top near-term risk facing business leaders around the world. Beyond the economy and talent market, business leaders are also increasingly concerned about cyber threats in both the near and long-term, with this risk ranking as the top concern of respondents over the next decade.

Emerging Risks for 2024

There is significant turnover in the top risks for 2024 relative to the prior year, with six falling out of this year’s top ten list for 2024, including the top near-term risk. Economic conditions and inflationary pressures emerged as the top near-term risk for 2024. Continuing a trend highlighted by the last two years’ surveys, finding and retaining talent remained a major concern. Of the 36 macroeconomic, strategic and operational risks assessed in the survey, the top five risks identified for 2024 are:

  1.  Economic conditions, including inflationary pressures
  2.  Ability to attract, develop and retain top talent, manage shifts in labor expectations, and address succession challenges
  3.  Cyber threats
  4.  Third-party risks
  5.  Heightened regulatory changes and scrutiny

Although not recorded as a top risk, geopolitical events had a significant ripple effect across the risk landscape. Before the events that took place in the Middle East on October 7, 2023, the survey found that no risk issues were rated at the “Significant Impact” level for 2024, but in the responses gathered following the attacks, many risks increased and four risk issues were rated at the “Significant Impact” level.

Top Risks for 2034

Survey respondents also rated the expected impact of the same 36 risks for a decade out, into 2034, assessing how the risk landscape might shift over the coming decade. The top five risks identified for 2034 are:

  1.  Cyber threats
  2.  Ability to attract, develop and retain top talent, manage shifts in labor expectations, and address succession challenges
  3.  Adoption of digital technologies requiring new skills in short supply
  4.  Rapid speed of disruptive innovations enabled by new and emerging technologies and/or other market forces
  5.  Heightened regulatory changes and scrutiny

Looking out a decade, cybersecurity is the most pressing risk issue, with the risk rating for cyber threats increasing by more than 11% over last year’s survey  –  by far the largest risk rating increase noted in the survey’s history. Dr. Mark Beasley, professor of Enterprise Risk Management, director of NC State’s ERM Initiative and co-author of the report, said, “While the economy is the top-ranked risk for the coming year, cyber threats jumped to the top of the list when leaders assessed both near- and long-term outlooks, after not being a top-five risk at all last year. This jump reflects the growing recognition of the complex cyber risk landscape that is impacted by the exponential curve of technological advances and how seriously leaders are taking these threats.”

“Over the next decade, technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, and the anticipated emergence of quantum computing will change how organizations secure their data, raising significant security-related questions,” said Sameer Ansari, Protiviti global Security & Privacy lead. “To adapt quickly to new technologies, many organizations are increasing reliance on outsourcing and co-sourcing arrangements to achieve operational and go-to-market objectives. Cyber threat risks arise as organizations must ensure their third-party vendors, as well as the third parties’ own vendors, are complying with current laws and regulations to ensure their data and their customers’ data is secure.”

How Companies Can Take Action

No matter the time horizon, this year’s survey results highlight important steps executives should take to protect their companies against risk and maximize their chances of future success. The report from Protiviti and NC State’s ERM Initiative contains helpful calls to actions that executives should take to address key areas, including:

  1.  AI
  2.  Economy/Inflation
  3.  Cyber issues
  4.  Talent strategies
  5.  Geopolitical risk

Resources Available

The Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2024 and and a Decade Later report from Protiviti and NC State University’s ERM Initiative provides detailed results and analysis broken out by company type, size, industry, geographic region and respondent role. The report, along with a global webinar series, an infographic, and a podcast about the survey results, is available for complimentary download below. Protiviti’s global webinar series kicks off with a one-hour panel discussion to discuss the implications of the survey’s findings on January 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM EST. Attendance is free with registration here.


Top Risks Webinar
January 11, 2024 @ 11:00 AM EST

Join us for an insightful and interactive webinar that delves into the interconnected nature of emerging risks and what they mean for your organization. In this interactive panel, our subject matter experts will showcase the latest survey results, provide valuable insights into what these results mean for C-Suite and Board members, and devote special attention to the vital areas for Board consideration: economic and geopolitical dynamics, AI, cybersecurity and privacy, and talent upskilling.

Whether you’re a C-Suite leader, a Board member, or a leader focused on the four vital areas, this panel is designed to help you navigate this volatile environment. Through an open and dynamic discussion, our presenters will address your burning questions, share key takeaways from the survey, and explore the strategic implications for organizations.

Learning objectives:

  • Gain a nuanced understanding of how leading risks interact with each other and influence the business landscape in the upcoming year and next decade
  • Discover how these risks are reshaping businesses
  • Learn actionable strategies to proactively respond to these challenges, transforming them into opportunities for organizational growth

Please note this webinar does NOToffer CPE credit.  However, it can be applied to those seeking or maintaing the ERM Fellow Designation.  Please send your registration confirmation to

Register for the Webinar 

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