More than Half the World’s CEOs are Poised to Increase Headcounts

CEOs across the globe are more confident about the economy and their company's growth prospects, though their rising optimism is tempered by concerns about political instability and protectionism.

iStock-517848807-compressorCEOs across the globe are more confident about the economy and their company’s growth prospects, though their rising optimism is tempered by concerns about political instability and protectionism.

According to consultancy PwC’s global CEO survey, which this year garnered responses from 1,379 leaders across 79 countries, 29% expect global economic growth to increase in 2017, up from 27% last year.

The findings, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, show that 38% are very confident about their company’s growth prospects, up from 35% in 2016. And 52% expect to increase their headcount, up from 48%.

“Despite a tumultuous 2016, CEO confidence is moving back up—albeit slowly and still a long way from the levels we saw back in 2007.

“Despite a tumultuous 2016, CEO confidence is moving back up—albeit slowly and still a long way from the levels we saw back in 2007,” PwC global chairman Bob Moritz said.

In the U.S., CEOs were a little more upbeat, with 39% very confident of their company’s prospects. Their optimism partly owes to the election of Donald Trump, who has promised lower taxes, looser regulation and increased investment in infrastructure.

In Chief Executive’s January 2017 CEO Confidence Index survey, CEOs continued to increase their optimism as well, rating their confidence in business 12 months from now a 7.07 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. This is the third consecutive month of increases since the election.

Also on Monday, the International Monetary Fund raised its U.S. economic growth forecast for 2017 to 2.3% from 2.2% and for 2018 to 2.5% from 2.1%. However, the IMF said there is “a wide dispersion of possible outcomes around the projections, given uncertainty surrounding the policy stance of the incoming U.S. administration”.

Indeed, CEOs questioned by PwC cited “economic uncertainty” as their top concern, followed by over-regulation and availability of key skills. Concerns about protectionism grew, with 59% of CEOs worried about the issue worldwide, rising to 64% for CEOs in the U.S. and Mexico.

The rise of populist leaders in the U.S. and Europe has been driven by public skepticism over the apparent benefits of globalization, which has also damaged trust in business. “The real challenge here though, isn’t just one of how CEOs navigate, it’s about the need for CEOs to have a deeper, two-way relationship with stakeholders, customers, employees and the public,” Moritz said.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    We are in a period of rapid change. Customer needs, technologies, competitors and internal capabilities require companies to review and update their strategies for the new realities. In this workshop, strategy experts Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison will show you a systematic approach to strategic planning to help you refine or redefine your business strategy and approach including:

    • Learn what you need to know to develop an effective strategic plan. Put the right players on the strategic planning team.
    • Develop strategies that leverage your company’s unique position in the marketplace. Lift your management team beyond “business as usual” thought processes and activities.
    • Translate your strategies into action. Achieve your vision for success and generate superior financial results.
    • Identify exactly what you need to do now to position your company for future success.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.