Brexit, cyber and skills – the stuff of UK manufacturers’ nightmares
15 Jan 2019
Cyber threats and Brexit concerns top the list of industrial risks cited by UK process firms in the latest Allianz Risk Barometer global report.
The yearly survey – the eighth to be conducted – saw a record participation by more than 2,400 respondents from nearly 90 countries worldwide.
Along with cyber threats, the greatest challenge cited by British bosses related to possible changes in legislation and regulation as a result of the UK’s impending withdrawal from the European Union.
The two factors were placed joint first by nearly half (48%) of all British respondents. Worldwide, cyber issues topped the list with 37% placing this first on their list.
“It’s no surprise to see changes in legislation and regulation as the new top risk in the UK, jointly with cyber threats,” said Tracey Hunt, deputy CEO, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), UK.
“Uncertainty around Brexit along with concerns around a potential increase in the regulatory burden and global trade disputes have made confidence fragile. UK businesses also continue to be occupied by the threat of cyber-attacks.”
She added that the consequences of a major data beach had increased since the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules came into force, with breaches “potentially now resulting in huge fines”.
Another Brexit-influenced issue makes its appearance for the first time as one of the top 10 UK risks cited. Fears over a shortage of skilled workers is now ranked seventh by UK respondents.
Yet, while changing demographics and uncertainty over the effects of EU withdrawal were contributing factors, Allianz deputy chief economist Ludovic Subran said more fundamental changes were at work also.
“Competition is fierce between companies to get new recruits with competencies in artificial intelligence, data science, or ‘frontier risk management’ such as managing cyber or reputational risk – as most of these jobs did not exist 10 years ago,” he explained.
“Even attractive salaries do not suffice as the pool of recruits with the needed skillset is limited and the urgency to onboard them does not allow for on-the-job training.”