Global Worldcom Confidence Index (WCI) – June 2020
The Worldcom Confidence Index (WCI) is a living study which uses a breakthrough approach powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which allows us to discover the issues that concern leaders globally – and their confidence levels in addressing them. Topics and sentiments are drawn from online conversations of over 54,000 CEOs and CMOs around the world.
June’s update to CEO/CMO confidence and concerns reports on 30 countries – double the number reported on in May. It is a further demonstration of Worldcom’s desire to provide global, regional and local insight that assists decision-making by business leaders.
It highlights the issues that are uppermost in CEOs/CMOs minds as they respond to the rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and navigate other significant business challenges.
The Worldcom Confidence Index (WCI) 10
The Worldcom Confidence Index highlights CEO/CMO confidence and concerns across 23 topics and six audiences. We have outlined the top 10 findings for June in what we call “The Worldcom Confidence Index 10.” The June WCI 10 shows the main changes since May 2020.
Leaders’ confidence in corporate image and brand reputation declined
As predicted in May, confidence in brand reputation fell out of the top five CEO topics of confidence. Corporate image and brand reputation saw the third largest decline in confidence – down 5%. Leaders in India had the highest confidence in this topic and Bulgaria the lowest.
Confidence in financial and economic influences on success also declined among leaders
As the financial implications of the pandemic began to bite, leaders’ confidence in financial and economic influences on success saw the fourth largest decline (down 4%) to #14 on the WCI. Slovakia had the lowest confidence in this topic and the U.K. the highest. The Netherlands had the third lowest confidence in this topic.
Decline in confidence of leaders aged over 65 may be a bellwether for the severity of the economic crisis to come
The impact of the pandemic is also beginning to erode the confidence of leaders over the age of 65 – whose confidence levels fell the most since May – down 4%. As this group has experienced more recessions/crises than any other, this decline in their confidence may be a bellwether for the severity of the economic crisis to come.
Employer brand, keeping employees, and giving them the new skills they need to be more productive in the ‘new normal’, all saw increases in leader engagement
Employee-related topics took five of the top eight places in the topic list and all but one saw rises in leader engagement. Upskilling and reskilling – the #1 topic increased the most (up 6%). This was followed by retaining talent – the #4 topic (up 1%). Economic migration – the #5 topic remained at the same level as in May; Improving productivity through employee engagement – the #6 topic (up 1%). The quality of employer brand – was the #7 topic and increased 2% since May.
Confidence in using technology to collaborate and innovate has fallen pointing to employees beginning to struggle with lack of face-to-face contact
Confidence in using technology to collaborate and innovate saw the fourth largest fall. While the pandemic has seen a surge in the use of online collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, this result may indicate growing fatigue with online meetings, and that organisations may need help to use them in a way that aids effective collaboration.
This topic was also the fifth topic of concern for CEOs.
The U.K. and France were most confident and Russia and Bulgaria least confident.
Reducing plastics and other sustainability issues saw the biggest increase in attention from leaders but also the biggest fall in confidence
While the topic engagement increased by 7% since May, confidence in reducing plastics and other sustainability issues declined by 7%. The topic moved down from #3 to #4 on the Worldcom Confidence Index. This may be a function of consumers becoming more active on sustainability issues.
The U.S. and Russia were the most confident countries for sustainability issues and Iceland and Slovakia the least confident.
Influencers extended their lead as #1 audience for leader attention – up 3% since May. But confidence in the ability to satisfy influencers fell by 8%. Customers and employees also saw increases in attention
Organisations are clearly trying to garner support for the decisions they take to position themselves for the recovery. Influencers extended their lead as #1 audience for leader attention – up 3% since May. Customers and employees also saw increases in attention.
But confidence in the ability to satisfy influencers fell by 8% – demonstrating the levels of uncertainty leaders have about how influencers will react to the decisions they take to manage the crisis.
Confidence levels in June were 28% lower than in November 2019 despite a tiny improvement
The global WCI score saw a small improvement since May – up 0.3%.
• Only three countries saw a decline in confidence – Germany (-1.1%), the U.K. (-0.3%) and France (-0.1%)
• Portugal saw the biggest increase since May – up 4.9%
• France (7 topics) and the U.K. (9 topics) came top of the Index for over two thirds of topics
• Japan was the most confident country for three topics and China for one topic
Central and Eastern European countries had five of the seven lowest confidence scores
Fifteen countries were added to the monthly results tracking in June – bringing the total to 30 around the world. This surfaced low levels of confidence in Central and Eastern Europe. Countries in the region came bottom for 12 of the 23 topics, with Bulgaria coming last for six of those. Slovakia came last in the country confidence rankings.
Australasia’s and North America's confidence dropped, while all regions show clear variations in areas of most concern
Confidence in Australasia declined 5% since May, while confidence in North America declined 1% – the only two regions to do so.
The results also show interesting variations in the areas of most concern:
- Australasia was least confident about attracting talent
- North America was least confident about sexual harassment and other bad behaviour
- Asia was least confident about the impact of the way political leaders communicate on social media
- Europe was least confident about reducing plastics and other sustainability issues
- Africa was least confident about global instability and the threat of war
- LATAM was least confident about cybercrime.
Artificial Intelligence provides unrivalled view of trending topics and leaders’ confidence and concern in addressing them
As for the 2019 Worldcom Confidence Index, the study was able to operate at this scale, and in nine different languages, because the data was captured using a breakthrough approach powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which allowed us to discover the issues that concern leaders – and their confidence levels in addressing them. The chosen research firm, Advanced Symbolics Inc. (ASI), has developed a patented method of building representative samples and then capturing information with their AI tool. By using ASI’s AI tool, we have produced a truly global perspective on the business issues of the moment and where they rank in terms of leadership attention. We’ve also calculated the confidence index level for every topic and audience and identified how this changes around the world. This is incredibly valuable insight because it not only represents what leaders are talking about, rather than responses to questions, but also shows their confidence or concern in addressing each topic. It means you can compare your own thoughts with more than 54,000 of your global peers.