No, it’s not one of those Letterman things. It’s a lot more serious matter. The ability to manage increasingly complicated risks in today’s difficult economy can be the difference between business success and business failure.

Risk, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. A recent survey by Aon Corporation provides some insight as to how employers in the global economy measure and prioritize risk. In October and November 2008, 551 employers responded from more than 40 countries and across 31 industries responded to an AON survey to find out their views of emerging and escalating business risks, and the steps they are taking to address these challenges.

The results were published in Aon’s 2009 Global Risk Management Survey report which lists the top ten most pressing global risks:

  1. Economic slowdown
  2. Regulatory/legislative changes
  3. Business interruption
  4. Increasing competition
  5. Commodity price risk
  6. Damage to reputation
  7. Cash flow/liquidity risk
  8. Distribution or supply chain failure
  9. Third-party liability
  10. Failure to attract or retain top talent

The #1 risk, “economic slowdown”, came as no surprise to me. But what did pop out at me is #10, “failure to attract or retain top talent”. Maybe it’s because of the economy that some employers aren’t as concerned about that, but maybe it’s also a bit short-sighted.

You can download the complete survey here (registration required).