Cybersecurity and talent acquisition and retention were the top two business risks cited by US executives in PwCThe latest Pulse survey—and although healthcare executives shared these concerns, other factors are also at play. See how healthcare challenges compare to other industries in our interactive chart.
How executives feel about the current business environment
For the survey, PwC polled 722 executives from public and private companies in six sectors, including healthcare, between August 1 and August 5. In total, healthcare industry executives represented 7% of all respondents.
According to the survey, executives identified several ongoing risks to their companies, with more frequent and widespread cyber attacks topping the list at 40%. Other top risks include talent acquisition and retention (38%), rising production costs (34%), supply chain disruptions (34%) and inflation reducing consumer demand (31%).
Going forward, many executives (83%) said they planned to focus their business strategy on growth. To do this, executives reported increased investment in several areas, including digital transformation (53%), IT (52%), cybersecurity and privacy (48%), and customer experience (48%).
In addition, 63% of executives said they have changed or are planning to change their business processes to address labor shortages, up from 56% who said the same in January. To attract new workers, some changes companies are considering include:
- Expanding remote work options (70%)
- Increased compensation for current employees (64%)
- Expanding mental health benefits (62%)
- Creating customized HR strategies for different types of employees (59%)
- Acquiring new companies to gain access to new talent (52%)
But despite concerns about hiring and retaining talent, executives also reported efforts to improve their workforce, with 50% saying they are reducing their overall headcount. In addition, 46% said they are eliminating or reducing signing bonuses, and 44% are canceling job offers.
However, these early layoffs are more prevalent in certain industries than others, PwC reports. And health care executives are focusing on rehiring employees who recently left.
Overall, PwC notes that “[a]After more than two years of dealing with the uncertainty associated with the pandemic, business leaders recognize the urgent need to focus on growth in order to compete, and they are zeroing in on what they can control.”
Key business risks in healthcare
Like leaders in other industries, 43% of healthcare executives said cyberattacks were the most serious risk to their businesses. According to IBMAccording to the Cost of a Data Breach report, the healthcare industry is the most affected by data breaches, with each breach costing companies an average of $10.1 million.
To reduce the risk of cyberattacks, more companies are starting to use real-time detection and protection technology. In fact, roughly a quarter of healthcare industry executives said they’ve already seen benefits from using AI in their companies’ cyber defenses.
Compared to other executives, healthcare industry executives ranked both supply chain disruptions and tax policy as the most serious business risks. In particular, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies will need to develop tax strategies to prepare for the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance.
Other key business risks for the healthcare industry include rising production costs and talent acquisition and retention. Unlike technology, media and telecommunications companies, which are focusing on automation, healthcare companies are focusing on rehiring employees who left.
Over the next year, healthcare industry leaders said they plan to increase their investments in IT, digital transformation and cybersecurity and privacy. Healthcare industry executives were also more likely than other respondents to say they will increase investment in research, development and innovation in the next 12 months. (Gambling, Becker Hospital Review, 19/8; PwC Pulse Survey, 8/18)