The backdrop to KPMG’s latest annual survey asking 400 business leaders in Australia what’s on their mind, couldn’t be more different to last year’s.

We’ve moved on from the world’s preoccupation with COVID-19 in early 2022, to a new normal encompassing a rapidly rising cost of living, a war in Europe, and a global economy tipping towards recession.

Fortunately, Australia has avoided the worst of it, but we’re not immune. So, for insights into challenges facing businesses this year, download our fifth Keeping us up at night report:

What’s keeping Australian business leaders up at night?

Top 5 challenges for 2023

What are the key challenges facing Australian business leaders in 2023?

  1. Talent acquisition, retention and re/upskilling staff to meet a more digitised future (77%)
  2. Digital transformation and optimisation, and extracting organisational value from it (46%)
  3. Dealing with cyber risks (40%)
  4. Dealing with evolving regulatory processes, reporting changes and impacts (35%)
  5. The need for greater agility and flexibility in their organisation to meet opportunities and challenges (35%)

3–5 year predictions

What key challenges are Australian business leaders predicting in the next 3–5 years?

  1. Talent acquisition, retention, and re/upskilling to meet a more digitised future (61%)
  2. Dealing with cyber risks (43%).
  3. Digital transformation and optimisation, and extracting organisational value from it (43%)
  4. Identifying and growing future market segments and/or innovation opportunities for growth (40%)
  5. Dealing with evolving regulatory processes, reporting changes and impacts (35%)

Top social challenges

What are the main social challenges impacting Australian business?

We asked business leaders what they felt were the most significant social challenges impacting our future broader Australian business environment.

Here are the top three answers:

  1. Health risks including COVID-19 (26%)
  2. Social licence to operate/reputation (10%)
  3. Emerging and disruptive technology (7%)

Analysing the key business issues

KPMG subject matter experts look further into three issues facing Australian businesses. Download the report for their full responses.


Issue 1: Talent acquisition and retention

With the unemployment rate in Australia at its lowest level for more than 50 years, Australian leaders report the challenges around talent acquisition and retention have become more acute in the last 12 months. Staff shortage is a real issue, and Australia is now past full employment and unable to find the required skills to fill vacant jobs.

Issue 2: Cyber security threats and data breaches

Dealing with cyber security threats and data breaches is a major issue for businesses today. Cyber crimes not only impact the affected organisations, but often hurt individuals and their communities, who must deal with the aftermath of the attack.

In a world of increasing digitisation, the collection, storage and security of sensitive data poses a real and rising challenge for all businesses. Recent public examples of cyber vulnerability have further lifted business leaders’ concerns about cyber risk since our survey closed. 

Issue 3: Market growth

The outlook at home and globally is one of slowing demand, higher interest rates, normalising supply chains and moderating government spending. Australian business leaders are focused on delivering top line revenue growth, through maximising existing market share and developing a footprint in new markets.

Download the report

Find out more

Connect with us and subscribe for updates direct to your inbox.