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Quick Takes

Brexit Worries Are Slowing the British Economy

The “persistent uncertainty” of Brexit is negatively affecting companies’ performance in Britain, according to a paper on the impact of Brexit on firms in the U.K. from NBER. 

More than 45% of U.K. firms surveyed said Brexit has been a key driver of uncertainty since September 2018. Since the June 2016 referendum, researchers have observed a negative relationship between the level of firms’ uncertainty (rising) and employee productivity (falling). Investment by firms has dropped 11%, and productivity has fallen by as much as 5% at some firms. 

This uncertainty is reflected in the time executives spend on the topic: “Ten percent of chief financial officers and 6% of chief executive officers were spending at least six hours a week on how to cope with Brexit.” 

Closing the Gender Gap in Health Care Leadership Will Not Be Easy

chart_ women-in-health

Source: Women as the Heartbeat of Healthcare, Oliver Wyman, 2019


Women make up 65% of the health care workforce and make the majority of health care decisions, yet they comprise only 13% of health care industry CEOs, according to Women as the Heartbeat of Healthcare, a recent Oliver Wyman survey of 500+ health care industry employees.  

Citing studies that show that diverse leadership teams make better decisions and return more value for shareholders, the survey reveals a dim view of programs implemented to advance women at their companies — such as paid family leave and mentorships — with most respondents finding them ineffective. 

To close the gap, the report recommends that companies do more to examine, adapt and measure these programs, to address implicit bias, and to support leaders who want to advance women in health care. 

Lack of Competition Keeps Broadband Out of Reach for Hundreds of Millions

“Consolidated broadband markets … are keeping prices high and putting life-changing internet access out of reach for hundreds of millions of people,” according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), which just released its 2019 Affordability Report.

Some 900 million people live in low- and middle-income countries “where the cost of internet access is kept high by consolidated markets,” A4AI says. Residents of those countries pay an average of $3.42 per GB of data more than those living in countries with competitive markets, it finds. 

A4AI urges action to reduce broadband inequality. “If governments and companies take steps to increase market competition, they can dramatically boost the number of people able to access the internet,” it says. 

Maritime Industry Least-Prepared for Major Environmental and Economic Risks

The maritime industry is least prepared for cyberattacks, automation, decarbonization of shipping, climate change and a global economic crisis, according to senior maritime stakeholders surveyed for the Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2019

The survey, released Wednesday by the Global Maritime Forum, Marsh, and the International Union of Marine Insurance, ranked the top 18 issues facing the industry by level of preparedness. 

The maritime industry is best prepared for increased piracy, major safety incidents, fuel price increases and changing trading patterns, respondents said.

Which Cities Offer the Best Quality of Life?

To mark the U.N.’s sixth annual World Cities Day today, we revisit Mercer’s 2019 Quality of Living Ranking, which positioned Vienna as the top city for the 10th year running, followed by Zurich. The survey rates cities based on 10 factors, including economic opportunity, public services, education, housing and health care. 

With more than 68% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, “cities must be able to deliver the attributes most sought by companies and employees, from quality housing to quality infrastructure, quality education and quality jobs,” Mercer principal Slagin Parakatil wrote for BRINK in March.

Read the full article here: Cities Are Engaged in a Global Competition. How Do the Best Keep Winning?

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