PwC: CEOs predict less growth in 2019


Compared to last year, CEOs are more pessimistic about global economic growth in 2019 and are turning inward to focus on immediate business threats and skills gaps, according to PwC's 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey.

The survey includes responses from 1,378 CEOs from across the globe. It was conducted in September and October 2018. Three key takeaways:

1. More CEOs are pessimistic about growth this year. While most CEOs expect global economic growth to increase this year, 29 percent of those surveyed said they expect to see a decline — marking a 436 percent increase over the 5 percent of chief executives who expected a decline in growth in 2018. Along with that, just 35 percent of CEOs said they are "very confident" in revenue prospects for the next 12 months. PwC notes this is the lowest confidence level since 2009. Comparing past surveys to historical data, PwC notes a strong correlation between CEO expectations for revenue growth and actual global GDP growth.   

2. CEOs are concerned the global populist sentiment will hinder business. The chief executives surveyed named over-regulation, policy uncertainty and availability of key skills as their top three threats to business this year. For comparison, CEOs in 2018 said over-regulation, terrorism and geopolitical uncertainty were their top three threats. In North America, concerns vary slightly from the global norm in that cyber threats are the No. 1 concern for CEOs, followed by trade conflicts and protectionism. Amid this sentiment, CEOs plan to turn inward and focus on operational efficiencies, organic growth and new products or services to drive revenue this year.

3. Skills and information gaps persist. Despite investing billions in data analytics, most chief executives still find they do not have the information they need. For example, 94 percent of respondents said data about consumers is important or critical to business, but just 15 percent said the data they have about what consumers want or need is comprehensive. This vast gap in knowledge has not improved over the past 10 years. In 2009, 94 percent of CEOs thought consumer data was important and just 21 percent said they have comprehensive information available. Skills gaps may be partly to blame — the No. 1 skills gap CEOs named was the inability to effectively innovate. Chief executives are looking to artificial intelligence as the next big catalyst for change. Notably more CEOs agreed than disagreed that AI would have bigger impact than the internet.

Read more here.


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