15th Annual Global CEO Survey
Facing the talent challenge


Talent shortages and mismatches are impacting profitability now
One in four CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent challenges. One in three is concerned that skills shortages will impact their company’s ability to innovate effectively.

CEOs report challenges in hiring across most industries
Even industries such as banking that have retrenched workers in large numbers are still struggling to get the right people. The strain in hiring will not abate in the near term. More CEOs expect to expand their workforces than reduce.

Seeking more information on effectiveness of their investments in talent
Productivity and labour costs remain important measurements. Yet for many CEOs, those tools aren’t enough. Such measurements cannot isolate skills gaps or identify the pivotal jobs that drive exponential value. Hence CEOs are looking for a more comprehensive understanding of talent today and their needs for tomorrow.

Key Findings

Embracing volatility

Mounting uncertainties are pressuring CEOs’ confidence. But businesses are not entirely on the defensive. Trends that support long-term investments in key markets remain firmly in place. Half of CEOs based in developed markets believe that emerging economies are more important to their company’s future, as do 68% of CEOs who are themselves based in emerging markets.

Local approaches to global growth

CEOs are committed to expanding local customer bases in their priority markets. But rather than simply exporting products, they're building diverse local operations, from services capabilities to manufacturing capacity. Critically, they're changing their product mix – and sometimes their entire operating models – to meet very local needs and conditions.

Risk resilience

Shored up balance sheets and more flexible supply chains have helped. But there's still plenty for CEOs to worry about. For example, most CEOs in Western Europe are concerned about instability in capital markets. Currency volatility is a potential constraint in Asia Pacific, while rising taxes and over-regulation loom large for CEOs in Latin America.

Innovating on multiple fronts

The innovation priority remains: Almost a third of CEOs believe that their biggest opportunities for growth lie in developing new products and services. CEOs in the communications, and media and entertainment sectors are the most active on all fronts, whether it means refocusing innovation efforts for existing products and services or for entirely new products in new models.



Sophie Lambin
Director, Global Thought Leadership
PricewaterhouseCoopers International
Tel: +44 (20) 7213 3160