There are many global challenges that are causing concern for businesses around the world. From climate change to political uncertainty and even infrastructure problems, there are a wide range of obstacles that companies have to consider when conducting business.
But what are the biggest of these, and what should organisations be most concerned about in the future?
Regulation and compliance
Regardless of what market or industry your business operates in, you will be obligated to adhere to certain regulations. Whether this is related to tax or some more specific industry-related guidelines, a changing economic landscape and certain levels of uncertainty means that countries around the world are almost constantly tweaking the rules.
There are several reasons for this, including helping markets to stay competitive with their rivals and promote trade, and it's important that all organisations are aware of the regulations they need to comply with. This may involve outsourcing certain aspects of your business, such as taxation, or drawing in experts to help you on a permanent or freelance basis. These may seem like upfront costs that many organisations can do without, especially in the current climate, but the potential danger of legal action is a much bigger threat.
This may sound like something that most organisations don't need to be aware of, but with the changing climate comes an increasing expectation for companies to be doing their bit to preserve the environment.
Whether through tax breaks for manufacturing firms who are able to make their process more environmentally friendly, to penalties for organisations that don't reduce their carbon footprint in-line with international legislation, climate change is becoming a more relevant part of modern business across the globe.
Factors such as clean water, sustainable development and global ethics, are increasingly affecting business decisions.
Businesses are having to think about Big Data unlike any organisations before. Collecting and analysing data is something that can benefit most companies, but the ethics surrounding it - especially where customer information is concerned - is a hot topic. The amount of data that is being tracked is growing at a rapid rate, and countries are cracking down on companies that collect and use it.
Most notably recent changes to the EU Data Protection Directive (EDPR) is bringing stricter rules for organisations in the European Union and how they keep record of how they collect data. As this comes into force, and other nations follow suit, international companies increasingly have to navigate different and sometimes conflicting regulations surrounding data.
Gender pay gap
There is an increasing need for companies to take action to reduce the gender pay gap in their organisation, making sure that women are well represented and paid within their business. This is linked to other matters such as paternity and maternity pay, as well as childcare options, which will pose significant challenges for businesses in the near future.
In addition to the gender pay gap issue, there will also be a growing expectation on businesses to create a more diverse workforce in general. Research heavily suggests that organisations that are more diverse are more profitable, productive, and better to work for so there are plenty of incentives for companies to make this happen. However, bringing this into realisation and taking the necessary measures to encourage a more diverse workforce can be a challenge.