Cyber security seen as the main challenge facing UK senior executives

cyber attack

Cyber security is the major challenge facing UK senior business executives, according to a new survey.

Research was conducted among almost 1000 senior professionals across multiple business sectors in the UK, China, France, GCC countries, Germany, Netherlands, Nordics, Japan and Spain. Over 10 per cent of respondents came from the UK with the majority of respondents working at companies that employ over 250 people.

Over a third of business executives surveyed identify cyber security as one of their top three business challenges in the next three years, alongside strategy development and financial management. Interestingly, despite ongoing political uncertainty within the UK in relation to Brexit, geopolitical factors are only a major issue for 13 per cent of senior executives surveyed.

While leadership development falls behind other business priorities in 2017, it is clear from the survey that senior professionals understand and recognise the long-term benefits of corporate learning.

UK senior professionals are very positive about the impact of corporate learning /leadership development with: 86 per cent seeing education/leadership development as vital to achieve business goals and 85 per cent stating corporate learning /leadership development has improved their business knowledge, competencies and confidence. Furthermore, 79 per cent view education/leadership development as more important than ever and 74 per cent acknowledge that education/leadership development has enhanced their ability to do their job more effectively.

The majority of UK senior executives view education/leadership development as vital to employee retention and a key driver for innovation and change within their organisations.

The main learning priorities with regards to corporate learning are: customer engagement, strategy execution, strategy and planning and leadership capabilities.

Notably, among senior professionals in the UK the most prominent internal outcomes expected from corporate learning are improved employee engagement and increased employee understanding of the company strategy and vision.

While there is a lot to be positive about, what is also apparent from the survey results is that learning and leadership development programmes have not quite lived up to expectations. Only 40 per cent of those in the UK agree that senior leaders in their organisation believe that past investments in corporate learning have added value to their organisation.

Among those who say their senior leaders haven’t seen the value of past programmes in their organisation, it’s due to an inability to: measure the success or outcomes of such programmes, demonstrate a tangible impact to the organisation and/or adapt to the organisation’s needs.

Nonetheless, there is still optimism about the future success of corporate learning with nearly half of senior professionals stating future investments in these types of programmes will add value to their organisation.

Commenting on the research results, VanDyck Silveira, CEO of Financial Times | IE Corporate Learning Alliance, says: “Senior executives face a multitude of business challenges, including an increasingly competitive environment, changes to technology and cyber security. Our survey reveals that corporate learning plays a vital role in helping businesses meet these challenges and developing the next generation of business leaders.”