Risk managers consider a prolonged global recession as the biggest risk to their businesses in the next 18 months, according to a World Economic Forum report.

Two thirds of those surveyed in the report, “Covid-19 Risks Outlook”, cite a prolonged global recession as their biggest risk, while half expect bankruptcies and industry consolidation due to disrupted supply chains.

The report surveyed nearly 350 senior risk professionals, who were asked to look at the next 18 months and rank their biggest concerns in terms of likely effects on the world and business.

Of those surveyed, the largest number came from insurance and asset management (20%), while 11% were from the banking and capital markets industries. A third were from Europe, while 23% were from Sub-Saharan Africa, and a similar number were surveyed in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Half of the participants expect additional cyberattacks and data fraud due to a shift in work patterns, while just less than half expect a prolonged disruption of global supply chains. About half expect high levels of structural unemployment, especially for the youth.

“The crisis has devastated lives and livelihoods,” said WEF MD Saadia Zahidi. “It has triggered an economic crisis with far-reaching implications and revealed the inadequacies of the past.” 

The survey was conducted from April 1 -13, and was produced in partnership with Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group. Marsh & McLennan is a global professional services firm, which includes human resources consulting business Mercer as a subsidiary.