CEOs categorical sturdy optimism for international progress this yr

Whereas they continue to be anxious about exterior threats like well being crises and cyber threats, issues about local weather change are low, PwC survey finds.

Picture: Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

Now for some good news from the enterprise world: There’s important optimism concerning the international financial system in 2021 with 76% of CEOs saying they consider progress will enhance this yr, in line with PwC’s annual international CEO survey.

Whereas the worldwide pandemic just isn’t but over, “CEOs’ optimism additionally displays momentum in vaccine growth and rollout in components of the world,” the survey stated. This carries over to their very own organizations: 36% stated they’re very assured about their income progress prospects for the following yr, and 47% are very assured wanting forward on the subsequent three years.

Based mostly on this yr’s responses, PwC is estimating international progress might rise as a lot as 5%, according to different evaluation the agency has performed suggesting the worldwide financial system will return to its pre-pandemic measurement by the fourth quarter of 2021 or early 2022, the report stated.

SEE: The COVID-19 gender hole: What employers can do to maintain girls on board (TechRepublic)

Confidence ranges by business, lingering issues

Not surprisingly, the hospitality and leisure and transportation and logistics sectors are amongst these with the bottom reported confidence ranges. In distinction, tech CEOs stated they’re extra assured than their friends in each different business, which displays digital acceleration in the course of the pandemic, the report stated.

“Taking a better take a look at the results on firms in several industries, we see what number of can be reinventing their workplaces because the vaccine rollout continues—with versatile work fashions changing into a everlasting fixture for a variety of roles, together with gross sales, finance and know-how,” the PwC report stated. “However putting the correct stability can be more difficult in industries reminiscent of hospitality, transportation and retail, the place enterprise mannequin adjustments are prone to require important shifts in deeply ingrained buyer behaviors and worker methods of working.”

That stated, there’s some nervousness over threats within the exterior atmosphere, with pandemics and different well being crises cited by 52% of CEOs as their No. 1 concern. Six years in the past, the final time the PwC survey requested this query, solely 9% of respondents chosen this risk, the report famous.

By way of different threats, cyber threats was second on the listing (47%) adopted by over-regulation (42%).

Lack of momentum on local weather change

Way more stunning than the rise of pandemics on CEOs’ risk lists “was the modest rise of local weather change as a precedence,” the report stated. This yr, 30% of CEOs cited local weather change as an excessive concern in comparison with 24% in 2020. “This will likely appear to be a notable soar, however within the context of rising nervousness about practically all threats, it represents only a marginal improve,” the report stated.

Additional, one other 27% of CEO respondents reported being “not involved in any respect” or “not very involved” about local weather change, in line with the report. And 60% haven’t but factored local weather grow to be their strategic threat administration methods, PwC stated.

“In truth, at a rustic degree, our outcomes present a reasonably damaging correlation between publicity to pure hazards and corporations’ preparedness for climate-related threat. Corporations within the nations with essentially the most publicity—that are typically among the many largest contributors to CO2 emissions—are much less prone to have embedded local weather grow to be their general threat administration strategy,” the report stated.

Nervousness about cyberattacks, misinformation

What CEOs are expressing main nervousness over is the specter of cyberattacks. It’s now the No. 2 concern, cited by 47% of CEOs, in comparison with 33% in 2020. It was the highest risk for CEO respondents in North America and Western Europe, the report stated.

Cyber threats are the highest concern for CEOs within the asset/wealth administration, insurance coverage, non-public fairness, banking and capital markets and tech sectors, in line with the report.

Additionally rising quickly on the listing of CEOs’ issues is the unfold of misinformation (28% are “extraordinarily involved,” up from 16% in final yr’s research), which has profoundly impacted latest elections, reputations and public well being, the report famous.

“At its core, misinformation displays as we speak’s traditionally low ranges of belief,” the PwC report stated. “For enterprise leaders who must construct again this belief, being clear concerning the efficacy of merchandise and sharing knowledge may also help.”

Whereas these dynamics exist, they aren’t stopping many firms from accelerating their digital transformations in the course of the pandemic. When requested how they plan to alter their long-term investments over the following three years because of the COVID-19 disaster, 49% of CEO respondents stated they plan to considerably improve digital transformation adopted by 34% who stated they’ll reasonably improve their digital initiatives. 

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