CEOs' curbed confidence spells caution

22nd Annual Global CEO Survey

Last year, our survey revealed record-breaking CEO optimism. This year, chief executives tell a different story. Trade conflicts, political upset, and a projected slowdown in global economic growth have increased uncertainty and decreased confidence in revenue prospects. Explore the strategies organisations are using to navigate this new environment.

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Key findings from US CEOs

US companies are awash in cash. We are in the beginnings of an AI revolution, which many CEOs expect to be bigger than the internet revolution. They are making investments. They are upskilling their workforces.

At the same time, cost pressures are building. Wages, raw materials and interest rates are on the move. For US CEOs, being active in M&A and responsive to shifts in technology and policy are top of mind no matter what direction the economy takes.

Explore key findings
80% US CEOs think AI will significantly change the way they do business in the next five years
Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, previews PwC's 22nd CEO Survey

CEOs' prospects for growth in 2019

PwC's Global Chairman, Bob Moritz, previews the firm's annual CEO Survey with a focus on shifting chief executive sentiment heading into 2019.

Duration: 00:01:53

Our story

Reality check

Last year saw a record jump in optimism regarding global growth prospects. This year saw a record jump in pessimism, with nearly 30% of CEOs projecting a decline in global GDP growth, up from a mere 5% last year. CEOs also reported a noteworthy dip in confidence in their own organisations’ revenue prospects over the short (12-month) and medium (three-year) term.

Look inside-out for growth

Across the survey rang a general theme of hunkering down as CEOs adapt to the strong nationalist and populist sentiment sweeping the globe. The threats they consider most pressing are less existential and more related to the ease of doing business in the markets where they operate. When asked to identify the most attractive foreign markets for investment, CEOs are narrowing their choices and expressing more uncertainty.

Mind the information and skills gaps

In addition to the fault lines developing geopolitically, CEOs are working to bridge the gaps in their own capabilities. Organisations are struggling to translate a deluge of data into better decision making. There is a shortage of skilled talent to clean, integrate, and extract value from big data and move beyond baby steps toward AI. 

 


 


 

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Ilona Steffen

Global Marketing & Insights Director, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 79 210 6692

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