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24th CEO Survey methodology

PwC surveyed 5,050 CEOs in 100 countries and territories in January and February of 2021. The global and regional figures in this report are based on a sub-sample of 1,779 CEOs, proportionate to country nominal GDP to ensure that CEOs’ views are representative across all major regions. The industry- and country-level figures are based on the full sample of 5,050 CEOs. Further details by region, country and industry are available on request. Ninety-three percent of the interviews were conducted online and 7% by post, by telephone or face-to-face. All quantitative interviews were conducted on a confidential basis.

Among the 1,779 CEOs whose responses were used for the global and regional figures:

  • 6% of their organisations had revenues of US$25bn or more.
  • 9% of their organisations had revenues between US$10bn and US$25bn.
  • 35% of their organisations had revenues between US$1bn and US$10bn.
  • 34% of their organisations had revenues between US$100m and US$1bn.
  • 14% of their organisations had revenues of up to US$100m.
  • 60% of their organisations were privately owned.


  • Conducting fieldwork in January and February of 2021 represents a shift from our historical approach. Typically, PwC surveys chief executives for its Annual Global CEO Survey between September and November, and then releases its report in January of the following year. Given global complexities in the fall of 2020, including pandemic surges, late-stage vaccine trials and several disruptive geopolitical events, we moved the fieldwork in an effort to create a dataset that would be meaningful and enduring.
  • Not all percentages in charts add up to 100%, as a result of rounding percentages and the decision in certain cases to exclude the display of ‘neither/nor,’ ‘other,’ ‘none of the above’ and ‘don’t know’ responses.

We also conducted in-depth interviews with CEOs from six regions. Some of these interviews are quoted in this report, and more extensive transcripts can be found on our website at

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

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Spencer Herbst

Spencer Herbst

Global Flagship Thought Leadership, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (513) 600-5621

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