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 is on the minds of CEOs in Central & Eastern Europe?

If global CEOs are anxious optimists, their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe are clear-eyed realists. They’re more pessimistic than most about the prospects for the global economy, but they have the smallest “optimism gap” of any region: the share of CEOs who are bullish on their own companies’ prospects is just 5 points lower than the percentage who are optimistic about the economy as a whole.

That’s no surprise, considering what CEOs in this region have come through in the past 25 years. After dealing with war, hyperinflation, economic collapse and wrenching social change, they’re ready for anything the world can throw at them. But there’s one homegrown worry that plagues them: how to attract and retain talent in the digital age.

See the CEE 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

Jeffery McMillan
Director of Communications, CEE, PwC Poland
Tel: +48 519 506 633

Jakub Kurasz
Head of Communications, PwC Poland
Tel: +48 601 289 381

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

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