The average G20 company has taken a 10 percent hit in revenue over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest quarterly FTI Resilience Barometer report.
The report, which polled 2,185 decision-makers in large companies across all G20 countries, found that the damage done by the pandemic has been considerable, with over 40 percent of the companies saying that they have experienced a drop in productivity. A majority (60 percent) indicate that they are facing challenges servicing debt requirements.
In addition, the effects of the pandemic are not expected to go away soon. Most respondents (70 percent) are planning for a prolonged economic downturn due to COVID-19.
One major source of anxiety for many corporate leaders is rising government debt. More than seven in 10 U.S. respondents (71 percent) indicated that they were concerned about an uptick in governmental red ink. The number was even higher for India and South Africa (both at 75 percent).
The role of national governments in company strategy is also increasing, with 84 percent of companies agreeing that “governments have a strong potential to impact their business,” topping the 80 percent who said that customers have the same potential.
A lack of adequate crisis preparation was also seen as a problem, with 39 percent of respondents saying that their crisis response plans were insufficient to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.
The report also goes into how the pandemic has shifted company game plans. Almost eight in 10 say they have had to fundamentally re-evaluate their business models as a result of the pandemic.
ESG issues are among the areas in which companies say they are planning to make changes. Over 85 percent of respondents said that they saw COVID-19 as “a catalyst to accelerate or materially enhance their approach to ESG and sustainability.”
The use of analytics to track employee productivity has risen considerably over the course of the pandemics, possibly a response to an increasingly dispersed workforce. While 46 percent said they used such analytics before COVID-19, another 41 percent have started using them since the pandemic began.
Cybersecurity was also a prime concern, with 74 percent agreeing that cybersecurity has risen up their board’s agenda as a result of the pandemic. Six in ten (60 percent) are concerned by the prospect of nation-state cyber attacks.
Other topics that were mentioned by respondents include the possibility of additional waves of COVID-19 (which 65 percent saw as “likely and concerning”), rising unemployment (55 percent), an increase in corruption (52 percent) and increases in sanctions or other trade restrictions (47 percent).
“Common attributes can be seen amongst those companies which have weathered the crisis best: they are agile, technologically innovative and willing, even eager, to challenge old norms of doing business,” said FTI global resilience lead Caroline Das-Monfrais.