20 years inside the mind of the CEO... What’s next?

What’s on the mind of 1,379 CEOs around the world?

20 years inside the mind of the CEO… What’s next?

Over the past 20 years CEOs have witnessed tremendous upheavals as a result of globalisation and technological change. In our 20th CEO Survey, nearly 1,400 CEOs share their views on the impact of these forces on growth, talent, trust and society. In this short video, PwC’s global chairman Bob Moritz, reflects on how today we’re at an inflection point; for leaders it’s now time to both raise and communicate the role of business in society and the positive impact it can have.

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PwC's Global Chairman Bob Moritz introduces our 20th CEO Survey

For the last two decades, PwC has asked business leaders across the globe about the trends reshaping business and society. As we mark the 20th year of our annual CEO survey, we’ve observed just how much the world has changed.


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We’ve asked CEOs for their views on:


Competing in an age of divergence

Globalisation has brought many benefits, but also downsides. With greater convergence has come greater divergence in beliefs, values and systems. CEOs are concerned about uncertain economic growth, over-regulation and skills shortages. Yet CEOs are surprisingly optimistic about growth: 38% are very confident in their company’s 12-month revenue growth prospects.

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Managing man and machine

Many individuals worry that globalisation and technology will eliminate their jobs. In reality, CEOs now recognise the need for talent – 52% plan to increase headcount, but can’t find people with the right skills. And 77% of CEOs are concerned that a shortage of key skills could impair their company’s growth. CEOs know they can’t innovate using technology alone.

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Gaining from connectivity without losing trust

CEOs are paying close attention to how human connection is affected by technology. And as our interactions become ever more automated, data-driven and virtual, the human factor is receding. Fully 69% of CEOs are convinced that it’s harder to gain and retain people’s trust in an increasingly digitalised and connected world.

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Making globalisation work for all

While nearly two thirds of CEOs agree that globalisation has benefited connectivity, trade and capital mobility, 44% say it has not helped at all in closing the gap between rich and poor. This year, the world has been forced to consider how globalisation can work for all. Here businesses have a significant role to play.

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Reimagine future success

2016 was unquestionably a tumultuous year as the world grappled with increasing uncertainty geopolitically and economically. In the face of this uncertainty Japanese CEOs are significantly less optimistic than their global peers on both the prospects of global economic growth and their own companies revenue growth in the coming year. In contrast global CEOs are more confident, and positively, they have again endorsed Japan as the one of the key countries for their company’s growth, with Japan ranked 5th up from the 7th in the prior year. Global uncertainty and change can be a catalyst for transformation which CEOs can effectively harness to deliver growth.

This memorable 20th annual survey covers 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. We hope the insights and findings contained will help you to reimagine future success in your business.

Explore the key insights

China CEO survey - key findings
Koichiro Kimura

PwC Japan Group Chairman and Territory Senior Partner


What do CEOs have to say about today's issues?

We conducted in-depth, face to face interviews with 20 CEOs from around the world. Watch their individual videos to hear their views on key events, trends and issues shaping business decision-making today.


Explore the data

How confident are CEOs about their company's prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months?
Which of the following activities are CEOs planning in the coming 12 months to drive corporate growth or profitability?

Contact us

Art Kleiner
Global Editor in Chief, PwC US

Takahiko Nagatsuma
Director, PwC Japan
Tel: +81-3-3546-8450

Kenichi Fujinoki
Senior Manager, PwC Japan
Tel: +81-3-3546-8450

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