Inside the mind of the investor… What’s next?

Global survey of investor and CEO views

Over 550 investment professionals gave us their views on the impact of globalisation and technology on growth, talent, trust and society for the companies they follow.

This report is a companion to our 20th CEO Survey, which includes interviews with nearly 1,400 CEOs.


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  • 92%

    of investment professionals think cyber security breaches could have a negative impact on stakeholder trust levels in the next 5 years

  • 75%

    of investment professionals expect technology to significantly change competition in the next 5 years

  • 85%

    of investment professionals expect company headcount to decrease as a result of automation and other technologies

  • 95%

    of investment professionals think adaptability, creativity and innovation, and problem-solving are important skills to companies

Increased confidence …

Despite the considerable political uncertainty across the world, investors’ optimism on the global economic growth outlook has more than doubled in twelve months. 45% of investors and analysts say they expect global economic growth to improve (2016: 22%).

The increased confidence in the global economy has fed through into expectations for company-specific growth prospects over the next 12 months. CEOs are particularly confident in their own company’s revenue growth prospects, while investor confidence tends to vary by industry.

… but uncertainty remains.

Investment professionals acknowledge that companies face many threats and they see geopolitical uncertainty as the top threat to company growth prospects. Protectionism, the future of the Eurozone and social instability also rank highly. These four issues are interlinked, reflecting nationalist trends around the world, and all can affect growth through their impact on the global economy.

The investors and analysts we surveyed are also becoming increasingly concerned about cyber security. This threat leapt to joint fourth place, up from ninth in last year’s survey. Investment professionals expect companies to be proactive in addressing cyber risks.

The benefits and challenges of globalisation

Many investment professionals think globalisation has brought benefits, for example, making it easier to move capital, people, goods and information, as well as enabling universal connectivity and creating a skilled labour force. And while they don’t expect the globalisation process to stop or be reversed, they do see some negative effects of globalisation, with many having fresh memories of the global financial crisis. They also think it has not helped to close the gap between rich and poor, with some suggesting that wealth inequalities are helping to drive social unrest and moves towards protectionism and nationalism.

Some also think that the globalisation trend could be affected by technological progress: by making production cheaper in developed countries there will be less of a need for outsourcing to developing countries.

Technology as a disruptor and enabler

Investment professionals think that numerous aspects of today’s world will be fixed, disrupted or replaced by new technology. Artificial Intelligence and automation are widely expected to have an impact, alongside the introduction of autonomous vehicles, new sources of renewable energy, advances in genetic research and FinTech developments.

Investors and analysts also think that automation and new technology may create new roles and change the skillset employees will need in the future. They think employees will need to be creative, innovative, adaptable and able to solve problems.

Contact us

Hilary Eastman
Director of Investor Engagement, PwC UK
Tel: +44 20 7804 1818

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