PwC hosts dialogue on talent against backdrop of global survey findings

Strategic talent management among CEOs’ top worries again

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 April 2012 – PwC Malaysia today hosted a dialogue around the key findings of its 15th Annual Global CEO Survey. Themed ‘Making talent strategic,’ the dialogue was moderated by Malek Ali, Managing Director of BFM, and featured three panellists: Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and  Group CEO, Axiata Group Berhad; Rajeev Peshawaria, CEO, ICLIF & author of ‘Too many bosses, too few leaders’; and Sarah Casanova, Managing Director, Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn Bhd.

The Survey, conducted in 60 countries around the world, highlighted some major trends surrounding issues such as investing in the emerging world, innovation and developing talent. Managing talent emerged as one of the top target areas for change for the second year in a row. The key findings include:

  • Just 15% of CEOs believe the global economy will improve this year. Only 40% are very confident about their revenue growth prospects for the next 12 months, compared to 48% in the previous year’s Survey.
  • 59% of respondents agreed that growing markets were more important to their company's future than more developed economies. 83% expect to grow their operations in Southeast Asia, 80% in South Asia, 77% in East Asia and 77% in South America.
  • Improving on the effectiveness of innovation continues to be a major strategic priority. Three out of four CEOs plan to change R&D and innovation capacity in 2012, of which 24% expect ‘major change.’
  • They’re adapting the way they go to market, reconfiguring processes and at times entire operating models. Between 17% and 36% of CEOs expect to either modify or create products for specific markets to suit local customer preferences.
  • One in four CEOS said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent constraints.
  • Two thirds say that it’s more likely that talent will come from promotions within their companies over the next three years.
  • Recruiting and retaining high potential middle managers is the biggest concern for CEOs.

PwC Malaysia Managing Director Chin Kwai Fatt said, “Unsurprisingly, confidence has taken a dip as CEOs deal with the aftershocks of the recession. Just 15% of our 1,258 respondents believe the global economy will improve this year. Even the World Bank recently slashed its global growth forecast for the year to just 2.5%. In contrast, the International Monetary Fund forecasted that ASEAN GDP growth this year between 5.6 and 6.3%. So our respondents are on the right track when they say that the emerging markets are more important to their companies’ future than developed markets.”

But every market is different - so companies need to get closer to their customers and be able to innovate effectively.

"Innovation is moving away from pushing products out of labs towards creating value for customers. Also, companies are looking at innovations to completely change their operational models," Chin explained. Over half of CEOs in the Survey are increasing the emphasis of their company’s innovation portfolio on business model innovations.

The dynamic nature of global business has also added another dimension to the talent challenge.

“Companies are constantly on the lookout for exceptional talent, and it’s clear that demand for quality talent far exceeds supply.  So the challenge for businesses is to make workforce planning part and parcel of business planning, rather than just a knee jerk reaction to recruitment. Companies will have to look within to grow a sustainable talent pipeline,” Chin concluded.

A total of eight Malaysian CEOs across a variety of industries participated in this Survey. For the full report, visit  



Notes to the Editor:

  1. For PwC's 15th Annual Global CEO Survey, 1,258 interviews were conducted in 60 countries in the last quarter of 2011. 291 interviews were conducted in Western Europe, 440 in Asia Pacific, 150 in Latin America, 236 in North America, 88 in Central and Eastern Europe, and 53 in the Middle East & Africa.
  2. 38 in-depth CEO interviews were also conducted. Datuk Rohana Rozhan, CEO, ASTRO Malaysia Holdings, was one of the in-depth interview respondents.


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