Income inequality, jobless growth key concerns for leaders: WEF

Income inequality and jobless growth are two of the most significant challenges facing the world today, says a World Economic Forum report.

According to the Outlook on the Global Agenda, deepening income inequality and jobless growth head the top 10 trends for 2015.

Top 10 trends for 2015 are deepening income inequality; jobless growth; lack of leadership; rising geostrategic competition; weakening of representative democracy; rising pollution in developing world; rising occurrence of severe weather events; intensifying nationalism increasing water stress and growing importance of health in the economy.

The trends are based on a survey of almost 1,800 experts from the Forum's network of global agenda councils as well as other communities within the World Economic Forum on what they believe would preoccupy leaders over the coming 12-18 months.

Amid growing severity of economic and political trends the 'lack of leadership' as a trend has gained significant prominence this year as this has climbed from 7th last year to 3rd place this year, the report said.

However, the challenges facing leaders are not limited to economics and politics alone, but also environmental.

Experts flagged rising pollution in the developing world (6th), increasing occurrence of severe weather events (7th) and increasing water stress as severe concerns.

"All these have the potential to inflict further social, economic and political instability globally," the report said.

Rounding out the top 10 trends is "growing importance of health in the economy", which is an opportunity as well as a challenge.

Increasing importance of health in the economy is indicative of the symbiotic link between a healthy population and a healthy economy, the report said.

It also represents an opportunity for leaders, with technology opening up possibilities for better and more cost effective healthcare, which could in turn lead to sustainable economic growth and greater prosperity, the report added.

"Today's challenges, which are global in scope, heavily interlinked in nature and critical in urgency, will only be addressed through greater understanding and stronger collaboration by all stakeholders," said Espen Barth Eide, Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum.

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