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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Carpe Diem

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 are the top priorities for UK CEOs in 2018?

This year, nearly 200 UK CEOs took part in the 21st CEO Survey, the highest number in recent years. And the findings show a significant uplift in optimism for improved economic growth - in fact they are the most confident they have been since 2015. Overall, their responses confirmed that in a fast changing and somewhat fractured world; trust, leadership and purpose are more important than ever. Particularly when it comes to assessing their business strategy and developing the digital skills and capabilities to grow and remain competitive in the years ahead.

More UK CEO Survey findings

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Kevin Ellis
Chairman and Senior Partner
Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 4102
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Ilona Steffen
Global Marketing & Insights Director, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 79 210 6692
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