Over the past year, business leaders worldwide have been sensing that confidence is low – but where’s the data to support that? The 2019 Worldcom Confidence Index fills that void with hard data gathered using a revolutionary methodology powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Last year, we predicted that AI would be the big issue of 2019, and we were right. The 2019 Worldcom Confidence Index is just one example of how AI has fundamentally altered our operating concept across a range of industries – from healthcare to manufacturing and now to survey methodology. This forward-thinking approach to gathering and analyzing data is emblematic of the work Worldcom Public Relations Group does and is one of the reasons we’re proud to be a member of this global PR network.

Worldcom PR Group commissioned the research company Advanced Symbolics Inc. (ASI) to assess the social media profiles and activity of more than 58,000 business leaders around the world and identify the topics that matter to them most. This AI-powered method produced a global perspective on the business issues of the moment and where they rank in terms of leadership attention.

The results were surprising:

Influencers

Influencers rose in importance in 2019, growing their share of attention by a massive 160% in comparison to last year’s Worldcom Confidence Index. Customers slipped to #2 and saw their share decline by 44%. Despite this, leaders remain concerned about their ability to reach the right influencers for their brands. For PR companies, this means that coming to the table with proven strategies for engaging influencers will increase the value of PR for business leaders.

Influencers - Worldcom Confidence Index 2019

Employee-Related Topics

Employee-related topics dominate the issues discussed by leaders – representing five out of the top six topics and six of the top 10. Upskilling or reskilling current employees was the number one topic for leader engagement, showing that business leaders see this as an essential step in the battle to retain talent. We expect upskilling and reselling to become even more important as AI and automation threaten to make a variety of jobs obsolete.

Employee-related topics - Worldcom Confidence Index 2019

Retaining Talent

Retaining talent was the #2 topic in terms of leader engagement. Leaders in the UK have the lowest confidence about retaining talent by country (14.75), but North America has the lowest confidence of any region in the world, with the United States displaying the lowest confidence in the region (14.98).

Retaining Talent - Worldcom Confidence Index 2019

For more details on these and other insights, download the 2019 Worldcom Confidence Index Report. The Worldcom team has also created regional reports that take a deep dive into the results by region, including Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and South America. These reports will allow you to compare your own thoughts with those of more than 58,000 of your global peers – an invaluable exercise for thinkers and innovators trying to stand out and build their brands in crowded industries.

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RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector, and healthcare markets.