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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What's on the minds of UK CEOs for the year ahead?

UK CEOs feel less confident about the global economy than a year ago, but they are more confident about their own business’s growth this year.

Our findings, based on global research which included over 120 UK CEOs, also confirm that, after an eventful year, technology, skills and globalisation all feature highly on their agendas for 2017.

UK CEOs rank uncertain economic growth a top threat, followed by exchange rate volatility and the future of the Eurozone. Clearly there is some concern about the potential impact of the EU referendum result, yet there is cause for optimism.

UK CEOs are looking to grow their headcount faster than their counterparts elsewhere, and develop existing talent to seize new opportunities.

Overall, our findings suggest that UK CEOs are staying calm and determined as they continue to pursue growth in an uncertain world.

UK CEO Survey findings

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


Explore the data

How confident are you about your company's prospects for revenue growth over the next 3 years?

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Katrina Kersey
Marketing manager
Tel: +44 (0)207 212 2279

Jenna Rogers
Senior marketing manager
Tel: +44 (0) 207 213 1781

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