CEOs are the most pessimistic in decades – PwC

Price Waterhouse Coopers, the Assurance, Advisory and Tax Services, has described the results of their study Global CEO Survey as possibly the most pessimistic outlook they have seen in over a decade.

According to the survey results, around 73% of CEOs worldwide believe that global economic growth will slow down over the next 12 months.

Almost three-quarters of the CEOs surveyed look bleak.

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The company said the CEOs surveyed in sub-Saharan Africa did not differ significantly from their global peers, but the pessimistic view of South African respondents related specifically to the impact of load shedding on their companies.

report results

Meanwhile, at the global level, some of the report’s findings include:

• Almost 40% of CEOs don’t believe their organizations will be commercially viable in 10 years if they don’t change.

• Inflation (40%), macroeconomic volatility (31%) and geopolitical conflicts (25%) are the top global threats as cyber and health risks have declined year-on-year.

• CEOs are cutting costs, but 60% don’t plan to cut jobs and 80% don’t plan to cut compensation in the fight to retain talent after the ‘big resignation’.

• Evolving customer demands, regulations, labor/skill shortages and technological disruption are seen as the top challenges to the industry’s long-term viability.

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• CEOs see climate risk impacting their cost profiles and supply chains over the next 12 months; 58% are developing a strategy to reduce emissions and mitigate climate risks.

A difficult economy

In the face of a shrinking global economy, CEOs need to rethink aspects of their business models. The report found that many would not seek to evolve the business and its strategy to meet future needs, but would primarily focus on increasing current operational performance.

Bob Moritz, Chairman of PwC Global, attributed the record level of pessimism to a volatile economy, decades of inflation and geopolitical conflicts.

“CEOs around the world are consequently reassessing their operating models and cutting costs, but despite this pressure they continue to put their people first as they try to retain talent after the ‘Big Retirement.’

“The world continues to change at an unrelenting pace, and the risks facing businesses, people – and the planet – will continue to increase. If organizations are to not only thrive, but survive the next few years, they must carefully balance the twin imperative of mitigating short-term risk and operational requirements with long-term results — because businesses that don’t change won’t be viable,” he said.

*Compiled by Devina Haripersad

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