Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed the summer break and feel ready for what 2022 has in store. Our team has been back at the office since 3rd January working hard on launching a whole list of new programs. I don’t know about you, but based on 2020/21 I feel a bit divided. Part of me wants to be optimisitc, because surely this must be it? The end of this mess. But, then there’s a part of me that wants to tread carefully, because if the past 2 years have taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected – and then roll with the punches.
Even the experts seem divided. Investment Bank JP Morgan recently released its annual global economic outlook in which it optimistically predicted that 2022 will mark a huge improvement from the past two years. The report predicts the new year would bring the end of the pandemic and a return to normal economic and market conditions. The S&P will gain 8%, the bank wrote, while emerging markets will add a whopping 18%. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs shares this optimism and have predicted robust economic growth for the US market and have raised their targets accordingly.
The fact that governments around the world are starting to adopt the “learning to live with Covid” approach, is also a good sign. It means we’ve come a long way since November 2019. We are more resilient, more adaptable and more realitic about the economic implications of extended lockdowns. Add to that the rate of vaccinations globally (12 billion shots will be given out against Covid-19 globally by November 2022, roughly 80 %) as well as new Covid treatments being approved as I’m writing this, and the picture doesn’t look half bad.
On the flip side, supply chain slowdowns which will lead to rising prices and inflation, combined with a skill shortage and the challenge for managers to manage remote workers, large enterprises as well as SME’s will have their fair share of challenges in 2022. Among CEOs expressing a more pessimistic outlook are those in the automotive, hospitality and leisure sectors, which are grappling with semiconductor shortages and the lingering effects of the pandemic on travel. In China, shifting demographics and structural unemployment are creating a growing gap; in the US, headlines about the “great resignation” and early retirement dominate. It remains to be seen whether the pandemic trajectory will shift and present new constraints on some industries.
For business leaders 2022 will be the year of making employee wellbeing a priority, focusing on health, building teams that are fluid, globally minded and connected, and using technology creatively and effectively. It’s a long list, and maybe we won’t all get it right, but let’s kick off this year by putting that list up in the office and reminding ourselves every day to work towards that. As for staying positive in tough times, this quote from S.C. Laurie perhaps says it best: “Not all positive change feels positive in the beginning”.
Onwards and upwards!
Daniel Gross – CEO