Top risks for UK businesses in 2022

Date: 3rd March 2022

What are the top risks facing UK businesses in the coming months? Take a closer look at the possible threats.

Cyber threats

The rise of digital technology and shift to hybrid working means the risk of cyber threats is becoming greater.  Businesses suffered 50% more attempted cyberattacks per week in 2021, with attacks rising to an all-time high in Q4. 

Smaller businesses are particularly vulnerable.  According to Accenture, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% have the means to defend themselves. 

The ever-evolving nature of cyberattacks means that the types of threats businesses are faced with is constantly changing and becoming increasingly sophisticated.  It’s essential for businesses to keep up-to-date with cyber trends and be aware of their own vulnerabilities.

Attacks can have severe consequences, including extended periods of downtime, financial loss and reputational issues.  It’s never been more important to have Cyber Cover.

You can obtain access to the Government-backed Cyber Essentials programme, which defines the technical requirements to reduce exposure to the most common cyber threats by up to 80%.

Climate change

Climate issues have risen to the top of the global agenda, with the COP26 Summit in 2021 highlighting the need for urgent action.  For businesses, climate change brings a number of risks.  The increased likelihood of extreme weather events such as floods, storms and heatwaves can cause significant disruption to supply chains and distribution networks. 

And when it comes to taking steps to tackle climate change, there are transitional risks associated with making sustainable improvements to business operations, whether changing to renewable energy or greening the supply chain.  There’s also the risk of doing nothing which can cause reputational damage and problems attracting and retaining staff.

Despite this, research from the Independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) shows many UK businesses are not including climate change in their decision-making processes, increasing their risk to vulnerabilities.

Business Continuity planning can help identify threats as well as managing supply chain disruption.

Coronavirus pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on businesses and the wider economy.  Staff absences, customer cancellations and challenges procuring goods and services are all having an effect.  Government figures from January 2022 show that a third (31%) of all businesses currently trading reported that their turnover in the last two weeks had decreased compared with normal expectations for the time of year.

There are likely to be concerns among businesses that the discovery of new variants could lead to further restrictions being implemented in the future.  However, experiences over the past two years mean many businesses are in a stronger position to adapt.

Brexit

Many British businesses remain nervous about the ongoing effect of Brexit.  A recent survey by Make UK and PWC found that over half (56%) of respondents were concerned Brexit would continue to impact business costs.

The survey also highlighted over half of businesses are concerned about access to labour, skills, and talent due to Brexit.

Talent shortages

A shortage of key talent could hamper the growth ambitions of UK businesses.  Research from BDO highlights that almost a third of companies need to make new hires this year; however, many are concerned about getting the right staff.  More than a third (35%) report a lack of workers able to work the hours their business requires, while a similar number are concerned about a lack of overseas workers.  Job vacancies are now almost 500,000 above pre-pandemic levels. 

In response, we’re seeing companies focus on providing on-the-job training and introducing new perks and embracing flexible working to help attract and retain staff.

HR Services can support businesses in managing employees, helping to maintain their reputation as an employer and boosting staff morale.