The Anxious Optimist in the Corner Office

What’s on the mind of 1,293 CEOs around the world?

PwC's 21st CEO Survey

The world’s CEOs look to the future with optimism and anxiety

Despite record levels of short-term optimism in the global economy, CEOs worldwide report heightened levels of anxiety regarding the business, economic, and, particularly, the societal threats confronting their organisations. PwC’s 21st CEO Survey sheds light on this seeming contradiction and the factors contributing to CEOs’ anxiously optimistic outlook on 2018 and beyond.

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Global Chairman Bob Moritz on CEOs' expectations and concerns for 2018. Duration 1:39

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Global confidence, organisational caution

This year saw the highest-ever jump to a record level of CEO optimism in global economic growth over the next 12 months. However, this burst of positivity regarding the macro economy does not translate into an equivalent surge of confidence in their own organisations’ growth prospects.

Find out why CEOs are so optimistic

What Keeps CEOs Up at Night Differs By Region

While regional differences reveal a mix of threats that concern CEOs, they share a common increasing worry about broader societal developments — geopolitical uncertainty, terrorism, and climate change — rather than direct business risks such as changing consumer behaviour or new market entrants.

Find out more about CEOs' top concerns

Navigating a Fractured World

Echoing the theme of the World Economic Forum this year, CEOs acknowledge that we live in a fractured world. They are divided over whether future economic growth will benefit the many or the few, but they agree that we need new metrics to measure prosperity going forward.

What's dividing CEOs?

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

CEOs in Belgium are among the most confident regarding global economic growth with almost two-thirds (63%) believing that it’ll improve over the next 12 months, compared to 57% globally. Of the broader societal threats that CEOs in Belgium worry about, geopolitical uncertainty tops the list (87%), followed by over-regulation (84%), populism (82%) and climate change and environmental damage (82%).

With regards to business threats to growth, the availability of key skills is the greatest concern for nearly all respondents (89%), notably ahead of cyber threats (79%) and the speed of technological change (76%).  Specifically with regards to digital talent, Belgian CEOs seem to be struggling harder than their counterparts in Western Europe and globally to attract digital talent.


See the Belgian key findings

Inside the Mind of the CEO

The Inside the Mind of the CEO interview series explores a wide range of critical decisions chief executives around the world face in today's dynamic society.

Browse our interviews 

Contact us

Saskia Rademakers
Marketing & Communication Director, PwC Belgium
Tel: +32 2710 7248

Ilona Steffen
Global Marketing & Insights Director, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 79 210 6692

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