As we embark on the back half of the year, sentiment about the business landscape remains uneven. The signs of an economic slowdown continue, affecting both investors and consumers. And there is no reason to expect the roller coaster ride to end anytime soon. According to Korn Ferry, below are a few business trends for the rest of 2019.
It’s no surprise the first trend mentioned is trade issues. It’s been in the news for almost a full year at this point and the standoff between the United States and China continues, resulting in organizations paying more for raw materials. The higher costs are putting new projects and investments in jeopardy and impacting the bottom line. Until a resolution is reached, the volatility is going to dampen expectations and we’ll see the impact on Wall Street.
The next trend is reflective of how consumers are feeling about the economy. While generally still positive, consumers are becoming concerned about the potential for a downturn. If companies are holding back on investment, there is the potential for layoffs and a slow down in job growth. Additionally, the uncertainty associated with the upcoming presidential election throws another wrench in the mix. The lack of predictability is leaving consumers uneasy.
While consumer sentiment is worried about job growth, the actual job market is still strong. June saw nearly 225,000 new jobs added. The expectation is that job growth will remain strong for technology and other hot job categories. Companies are realizing that they can’t just cut costs by cutting people. With the pace of technological change, they need to hire and or train people for the future, regardless of how the economy is performing.
The final trend mentioned continues on the ‘human’ theme of the prior two trends, employee activism. Whether this is a reflection of the growing numbers of millennials in the workforce, Korn Ferry mentions that almost half of millennials have “recently spoke out either in support or in criticism of their employer’s actions on a controversial issue.” With social media as a platform and skill shortages in many areas empowering employees who are in demand, the ability to speak out has never been easier. Executives would be wise to listen and engage with employees to understand their views and intentions.
You may be seeing signs of these macro trends in your organization. And these just scratch the surface of what you’re dealing with on a day to day basis. Uncertainty is becoming the norm in the executive ranks. Being able to make decisions without all of the information at the tip of your fingers is a skill set that everyone in the C-suite needs to develop. As these trends illustrate, managing expectations amid an uncertain economic climate is a true test of the new CEO skill set.
If you are considering hiring in the back half of 2019 and not sure if it’s the right time, send us a note. Our executive recruiters can help you understand the dynamics of your industry environment and determine the right skills that can help your executive team this year and in the future.