CEO's of international companies: failing in retaining and attracting employees is the biggest risk for businesses!


KPMG's latest "Global CEO Outlook" shows that the corona pandemic has radically changed the perspectives of international CEOs.


In the previous survey at the beginning of 2020 (before Corona), CEOs rated retaining and attracting employees less important than climate change, trade policy and cybercrime.


Why did CEOs change their perspective after the Corona outbreak?


Currently, many companies are rather busy with staff reduction than with large-scale hiring.


However, CEOs are looking beyond the current situation and so they are predicting an even tougher battle for the best talent in the coming years.


The Corona crisis has shown how important cohesion, solidarity and mutual support are in critical corporate situations. The CEOs experienced this first-hand and, during the lockdown, they learned to appreciate intensified and closer contact and exchange with their employees.


At the same time, digital technology will be further expanded, because home office work has clearly proven its worth in the crisis and mobile working and video conferencing will continue to be the way into the future.


This continued decentralized work also makes corporate culture more difficult to be developed and implemented - employees are spread out geographically, they meet each other less frequently and have no common local base. Under these new conditions, corporate culture will have a difficult time making a strong impact.


From the CEOs point of view, however, corporate culture will be even more crucial for success or failure of companies.


For this reason, almost 80 % of CEOs want to fundamentally revise their companies’ "purpose" (the deeper meaning behind their company, its appearance and its products).


Experience shows that a "meaningful corporate culture" makes a significant contribution to retaining employees in the long term.


Employee retention gains even more importance in the future because urgently needed executives and experts will no longer have to relocate to the company headquarters. Thus increased homeworking makes the pool of potential new employees/specialists significantly larger - including even foreign employees.


At the same time, however, the risk of poaching employees gets also significantly higher, because mobility will become less and less necessary in the future. This logically intensifies the battle for the best talent, no matter where they are located. They will have even more options than today.


Many companies are aware of this threat and therefore they try to maintain their recruiting efforts at a high level even in difficult times like the Corona Pandemic.


Management consultancies such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting or Bain are guiding the way. These consultants know: When the economy picks up again and new projects/assignments are coming in, they need enough excellent employees.


In the KPMG report, the CEOs also expect a greater regionalization of value chains.


Combined with the increasing social pressure to manufacture products closer to home, the demand for skilled talent will continue to rise and there it will intensify the battle for high and top performers.


This CEO outlook suggests that even during the Corona crisis, long-term developments and challenges still need to be considered.


Our working world is currently undergoing profound changes.


However, the competition for the best employees will remain unchanged - and it will even increase in intensity due to "the new normal".



Mathias Friedrichs

Tel.: +49 (0) 211 – 57 73 00




P.S.: For reasons of better readability of the contributions, the "male" formulation is chosen in each case.

But of course all 3 sexes are always addressed in the sense of equal treatment.



KPMG - „Global CEO Outlook“ 





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