THE confidence level among chief executive officers (CEOs) in Asia Pacific is returning to near pre-crisis level, two years after the financial meltdown.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) 14th Annual Global CEO survey, 54 per cent of CEOs are very confident of growth in the next 12 months.
This is more than the global average of 48 per cent. It is an increase from the previous year where only 40 per cent of them felt this optimistic.
Renewed confidence is spread across all countries within the region with CEOs in India leading with 88 per cent, followed by China and Hong Kong with 72 per cent while 60 per cent from Asean being particularly upbeat about near term growth. Japan is the least confident with 25 per cent.
The PwC survey said chief executives in Western Europe are not as optimistic as their Asian counterparts, with only 39 per cent expressing their confidence that things are finally turning around.
Meanwhile, Asia continues to be firmly on the radar for CEOs globally, with almost 90 per cent expecting operations to grow in the region in the next year, with China and India considered as key markets for future growth.
As emerging economies are growing at rates faster than the developed countries, about 62 per cent of Asia Pacific CEOs expect to add jobs in the next 12 months, up from 49 per cent in the last survey.
"From the survey, it is clear that talent is now top on the agenda for Asia Pacific CEOs this year," said PwC Malaysia managing director Chin Kwai Fatt.
He said in high growth markets such as China and India, having enough talent and the right type is crucial. Emerging markets like Malaysia are no different.
The survey findings also show that CEOs in the region are planning to invest in people's growth, and not through monetary compensation alone.
The survey was conducted in 69 countries in the last quarter of 2010 with 1,201 interviews conducted.