Fortune survey: 62% of CEOs plan policy changes in response to current calls for racial justice

Viewed in Fortune

The global economy was already rattled with coronavirus-related job losses and other economic damage when social unrest related to the May 25 killing of George Floyd emerged.

The dual crises are proving immensely challenging to the global economy—and to the CEOs that run many of the world’s companies.   

So how are these CEOs responding?

In collaboration with accounting giant Deloitte, Fortune magazine presented that question to 222 CEOs between June 8 and June 12.

The findings point to broader trends as companies navigate the unexpected and largely unprecedented public health and social justice challenges they now confront.

Among the findings

Sixty-two percent of CEOs plan policy changes in light of the Floyd killing, including “reevaluating sales of certain products, implementing anti-racism training, and changing hiring practices.”

The economic recovery is coming at varying speeds. Over half (51 percent) of CEOs expect their revenues to be fully recovered by this January.

  • Some companies (19 percent) actually increased their hiring during the crises.
  • But a greater number (41 percent) furloughed or laid off workers or reduced their pay. In the United States, some 21 million Americans had lost their jobs as of May, though a record number of jobs created in May and June have raised some hopes that a recovery is underway.

Many companies have increased investments in some functional areas, including workplace safety (50 percent), IT infrastructure (40 percent), and innovation (36 percent).

Remote Work

Perhaps most obviously, but confirmed in this survey, companies have vastly expanded their remote work in light of the pandemic.

According to CEOs surveyed, 13 percent of company employees were working remotely before the coronavirus. By June 2020, however, that number had grown to 73 percent.

But what does the future hold for remote work? By January 2021, CEOs anticipate the number of remote workers will fall to 43 percent and, by January 2022, to 36 percent.  

Conclusion

While employees  incrementally make their way back to work, the numbers will be fewer—and work as we knew it pre-coronavirus likely will never be the same with a vastly greater number ultimately working remotely.

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