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Anxiety in the C-suite

Executives share their top concerns.
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· less than 3 min read

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.

Do you ever worry that you’re worried about all the wrong things?

For your organization’s strategy, we mean. Not life in general—that’s a way bigger conversation and we’re not qualified to help you with it.

But as a leader or an aspiring one, if you’d like to see how your concerns line up with corporate execs’, we can share some findings from a report published by Chief, the self-described “largest community of senior executive women.”

In its January 2024 survey of 600 C-suiters at companies with at least 500 employees, the executives—three-fourths of whom were men, roughly mirroring the gender gap among high-level S&P 100 execs—were most concerned about changes in what their workers expect from their employers. One in three cited the challenge of “changing worker expectations” on issues including compensation, mental health benefits, and remote work policy.

Other concerns were cited nearly as often. Coming in just one percentage point behind was cybersecurity and data privacy, which 32% of executives said was a top concern. It was a tie for third place (30%) between “keeping up with AI and other disruptive technologies,” and finding and training the right talent.

The close rankings continue. Three concerns were listed by 29% of executives: competitors, the volatility of US politics, and “maintaining productivity and output amid layoffs or hiring freezes.” (We guess there wasn’t an option to choose “ensuring shared sacrifice at all levels of the company during hard times.”) In eighth through 10th place were “economic uncertainty” (26%), “geopolitical crises” (25%), and “other” (1%).

Fewer executives are sweating it than you might think. Asked if they expect their leadership roles to be more difficult in 2024 than 2023, just half said yes.

Speaking personally. We don’t know if it means they’re worried ChatGPT will take their jobs, but the biggest personal concern, shared by 43% of executives, was “keeping up with new technology.” Rounding out the top three were work-life balance (41%) and fitting in professional development (39%). If only we knew of some great news sites to help them stay up to date on their role and their industry.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.