Research and methodology

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PwC's 21st CEO Survey: The Anxious Optimist in the Corner Office

PwC conducted 1,293 interviews with CEOs in 85 countries. Our sample is weighted by national GDP to ensure that CEOs’ views are fairly represented across all major countries. The interviews were also spread across a range of industries. Further details by region and industry are available by request. Eleven percent of the interviews were conducted by telephone, 77% online, and 12% by post or face-to-face. All quantitative interviews were conducted on a confidential basis.

The lower threshold for all companies included in the top 10 countries (by GDP) was 500 employees or revenues of more than US$50 million. The threshold for companies included in the next 20 countries was more than 100 employees or revenues of more than $10 million.

  • 40% of companies had revenues of $1 billion or more.
  • 35% of companies had revenues between $100 million and $1 billion.
  • 20% of companies had revenues of up to $100 million.
  • 56% of companies were privately owned.



  • Not all figures add up to 100%, as a result of rounding percentages and exclusion of ‘neither/nor’ and ‘don’t know’ responses.
  • The base for figures is 1,293 (all respondents) unless otherwise stated.

We also conducted face-to-face, in-depth interviews with CEOs and thought leaders from five continents over the fourth quarter of 2017. Their interviews are quoted in the report, and more extensive extracts can be found across this website.

The research was undertaken by PwC Research, our global centre of excellence for primary research and evidence-based consulting services.



Contact us

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

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