The global permacrisis is set to continue to take its toll in 2024, as extreme weather events continue to impact organizations and global instability deepens. The 2024 Risk Outlook, released by International SOS, is based on a survey of 675 global senior risk professionals

This situation is giving rise to concerning levels of employee burnout. According to the latest International SOS Risk Outlook Report 2024, 80% of surveyed global senior risk professionals predict burnout will have a significant impact on businesses in the next year, whilst only 41% of them feel that their organizations are equipped to deal with it. 

It also provides a detailed view of some of the major risks which organizations must address in 2024, including the climate crisis, the power of AI, the evolution of employees’ expectations and worldwide unrest. 

Top 5 predictions in report

Running on empty: In recent years, as the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic began to subside, the emergence of the Ukraine/Russia conflict unleashed new waves of supply chain and service disruptions across various industries. With these ongoing stressors accumulating without respite, the risk of employee burnout is becoming increasingly tangible. The report’s findings noted that organizations have experienced a noticeable surge in stress-related absences. Surveyed respondents emphasize that the perceived risk level for the next 12 months is the highest ever recorded — 65% believe that global risks will continue to grow in 2024 — compounding their crisis management fatigue beyond pre-pandemic levels. 

Climate crisis: One in four organizations reported that they have already seen their operations affected by events attributed to climate change, and this year the second biggest category out of the thousands of alerts issued by International SOS in 2023 was extreme weather events. 

This comes as half of respondents say they have factored climate change into their health and security plans, emphasizing how vulnerable many organizations could be. This issue is certainly not going away, as approximately three-quarters of businesses report extreme weather as a challenge to their employees and operations in the coming year.

Global instability deepens: The second-highest security concern identified by respondents in this year's survey revolves around geopolitical tensions. Three out of four respondents expressed the belief that their organizations will face significant impacts in the coming year. The ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza, as well as the persistent conflict in Ukraine, contribute to this unstable global environment. Civil and social unrest, coupled with political instability, rank as the next largest worries for organizations. 

AI – risks and opportunities: More than two out of five respondents of the Risk Outlook research said they were worried about the effect of medical misinformation and disinformation on their workforces. This rises to three in five when asked about inaccurate political information.

The new employment contract: Three-quarters of surveyed organizations report increased employee expectations for Duty of Care. A similar number are now also shouldering duties previously seen as government responsibilities, including two-thirds who acknowledge extending responsibilities to support workers' families in times of need.