Business leaders feel more confident, says PWC

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Business leaders feel more confident, says PWC

The business community in the UK and worldwide are feeling more optimistic about their business outlook compared to last year, a survey of CEOs conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers has found.

In PwC's 20th annual survey of CEOs worldwide, released this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 38% (2016: 35%) are very confident about their company's growth prospects in the next 12 months while 29% (2016:27%) believe global economic growth will pick up in 2017, said the analysts.

However, business leaders are highly concerned about economic uncertainty (82%), over-regulation (80%) and availability of key skills (77%), said PWC.

Bob Moritz, global chairman at PwC, commented:

“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. But there are signs of optimism right across the globe, including in the UK and US, where despite predictions of a Trump slump and a Brexit exit, CEOs confidence in their company's growth are up from 2016. And that mood is reflected elsewhere, with more CEOs across the world targeting the US and UK for investment than a year ago.

“While CEOs are more confident in the opportunity for growth, this year they told us these three concerns that were top of mind: a people and technology strategy that creates a workforce fit for the digital age; preserving trust in their businesses in a world of increasingly virtual interactions; and making globalisation work for everyone by engaging ever more with society and collaborating to find solutions. All topics that will be high up the Davos agenda.”

Worldwide, over half of CEOs (52%) expect to increase their headcount over the next 12 months. CEOs in the Healthcare (64%), Asset Management (64%), and Technology (59%) sectors have the most ambitious hiring plans, with CEOs in the government and public sector (32%) having the least.

The speed of technological change is a focus for 70% of CEOs, found the survey. Over half of business leaders interviewed (52%) said they are currently exploring the benefits of how humans and machines can work together, and two out five (39%) are considering the impact of artificial intelligence on future skills needs.

 

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