Press Release


STAMFORD, Conn., April 21, 2022

Gartner Survey Shows Risk of Economic Downturn Rising Among Executive Concerns

1Q22 Quarterly Emerging Risks Report Shows Economic Concerns Being Driven by Multiple Sources

A macroeconomic downturn has moved into the top five risks among senior executives, according to Gartner, Inc.’s latest Emerging Risks Report, which surveyed 330 senior executives in the first quarter of 2022.

“The macroeconomic environment was already challenging before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, marked by persistent inflation and supply chain bottlenecks, which remain largely unresolved,” said Matt Shinkman, vice president with the Gartner Legal, Risk & Compliance practice. “Executives now face a spread of risks that are difficult to plan against, including contagion effects from war in Europe, aggressive Central Bank tightening, and continued COVID-19 pressure on growth in major global markets.”

Until this quarter, an economic downturn had not surfaced as a top five emerging risk. New Ransomware Models, given increased urgency due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Postpandemic Talent remained as the top overall emerging risks, in line from findings with the previous two quarters (See Table 1).

Table 1. Top Five Risks by Overall Risk Score and Frequency

 Score   Rank

Risk Name

Impact Score

Timeframe Score



 New Ransomware Models





 Postpandemic Talent





 Supply Chain Disruptions





 Inflationary Pressures





 Macroeconomic Downturn




(N = 330, Source: Gartner, April 2022)

The risk of a macroeconomic downturn has three key root causes that have driven it towards the forefront of executives’ minds at the start of 2022:

  1. Central Bank rate hikes – The Federal Reserve and other major central banks have taken a hawkish stance that has driven concerns about a market correction and lower overall liquidity in global markets. 
  2. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – Fears of contagion effects have grown as the war continues and has driven higher-level concerns about a global economic reset and the unpredictable effects of deglobalization.
  3. COVID-19 variants – The persistent presence of COVID-19 and potential for new variants continues to limit global market access and restrict economic growth.

Concerns about an economic downturn were felt most acutely in some of the most economically sensitive sectors, including consumer discretionary, basic materials and financial services, where 75% or more of industry respondents indicated it as a top risk. The economic downturn risk was ranked highest regionally in the Asia Pacific region.

Shinkman noted that the potential for an economic downturn has significant implications for enterprise risk management (ERM) teams who may have initially planned for a more aggressive organizational risk posture this year in anticipation of an economic rebound and diminished impacts from COVID-19.

“ERM leaders must work with their business partners to reset many assumptions that occurred before the outbreak of war and confirmation of aggressive quantitative tightening,” said Shinkman. “Without adjusting plans for these new realities, organizations face an appetite risk balance that could see them taking either too much risk, or otherwise being unprepared for opportunities presented by a downturn.”

More detailed analysis is available to Gartner clients in the full report 1Q22 Emerging Risk Report. Nonclients can complete free registration to read more in Emerging Risk Trends.

About Gartner for Legal, Risk & Compliance Leaders

Gartner for Legal, Risk and Compliance Leaders provides expert guidance and tools to help leaders across legal, risk, audit and compliance departments more effectively manage an increasingly complex risk landscape and build next-generation functions. Additional information is available at and  Follow news and updates on LinkedIn and Twitter. Visit the Gartner Legal and Compliance Newsroom for more information and insights.

Media Contacts

Related Content

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit