PwC's 11th Hungarian CEO Survey 2021 - Video transcripts

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Could a company have a strategic goal that is not among its CEO’s personal goals?

The results show that the vast majority of companies have made customer satisfaction and employee engagement as much a part of their strategy as automation. While no longer a top concern, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a strategic priority for a growing number of companies.

But how is it possible to implement corporate strategy if a third of CEOs are not held accountable for these nonfinancial outcomes?

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One-fifth of Hungarian companies have made a net-zero commitment, which means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. About a third of respondents have made a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality, which is attained when a company offsets its emissions by purchasing carbon credits or finances decarbonisation projects.

The main motivator for these commitments is to mitigate climate change risks, followed by meeting customer and investor expectations. Employee expectations were the least important motivator identified by Hungarian CEOs.

Most companies without decarbonisation commitments say they do not produce a meaningful amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They also typically report that they lack both the ability to measure emissions and an established industry-wide approach for decarbonising.

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What are the threats CEOs are most worried about and the impact they see those threats having on their business?

If we had the interviews today, we would probably be getting different answers than at the end of 2021, when threats directly affecting short-term outcomes topped the list. Accordingly, most respondents in Hungary were concerned about health risks, followed by macroeconomic volatility and cyber risks.

When asked what business outcomes they think these threats could inhibit, CEOs cited innovation, sales, and their ability to attract and retain key talent.

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It is clear from the interviews we conducted in late 2021 that Hungarian CEOs are much more cautious than their global peers. While 77% of global CEOs said they expect global economic growth to improve in 2022, only 46% of Hungarian CEOs – down from 65% in the previous year – said they expect more growth, and the majority of them expect growth to stagnate or decline.

Optimism about Hungarian economic growth has also waned, with more than half of Hungarian CEOs saying that a slowdown or stagnation is more likely in 2022.

Although in previous years CEOs remained confident about their own prospects for revenue growth regardless of how optimistic they were about the Hungarian economy’s growth potential, the proportion of those expecting revenue growth in the next 12 months has now also declined.

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Time doesn’t stand still – change is the law of life. But that can be a good thing! A chance to adapt, to do better, and to find sustainable solutions.

CEOs have shared their views on a range of issues since the beginning of our survey. We have talked about changes in trade, the expansion of global markets, events that have changed society, and the challenges we face together.

Meanwhile, we have listened and learned that we can only succeed by building a community that solves problems. This requires the right skills, self-development, and trust.

We will continue to listen and learn in the years and decades to come. Because change won’t stop, and neither will we!

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