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CEOs plan the highest increase in long-term investments to digital transformation

Slovak CEO Survey 2021

Survey conclusions

A record percentage of CEOs in Slovakia and worldwide are optimistic about global economic development and company growth

73% of CEOs in Slovakia are confident that global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months – this is the highest percentage since 2012, when PwC started conducting the CEO Survey in Slovakia. At the beginning of 2021, 76% of CEOs in other parts of the world were similarly optimistic about the development of the global economy. 55% of CEOs in Slovakia strongly believe that their company will grow over the next 12 months. And company growth over the next 3 years is expected by 63% of CEOs in Slovakia, which is also the highest percentage since 2012.

Companies expect better results than actual figures are, monitor more closely revenue growth and profitability and less closely return on investments

According to the opinions of CEOs, companies in Slovakia are better able to forecast revenue growth and profitability for the next 12 months than return on capital investments. One-third of CEOs state that forecasts of revenue growth and profitability are almost identical with actual results (±2%). Another third of CEOs state that revenue and profitability forecasts are higher, and a quarter of CEOs state that these forecasts are lower, than actual figures.

Digital transformation will see the highest investment increase

When asked how CEOs plan to change long-term investments over the next 3 years due to the COVID-19 crisis, CEOs unequivocally state that the highest increase will relate to digital transformation. A moderate increase will affect initiatives to realize cost efficiencies, organic growth programmes, cybersecurity, and data privacy.

Most CEOs in Slovakia are extremely concerned about populism and the availability of key skills

Most CEOs in Slovakia are somewhat or extremely concerned about the increasing tax burden, the COVID-19 pandemic, and tax policy uncertainty. They believe that the growing national debt will affect tax policy changes, which will increase their organization’s overall tax obligation and will result in a reassessment of its cost structure.

CEOs in Slovakia plan to focus on skills and the adaptability of their employees and on productivity increases via automation and technology

To increase competitiveness, CEOs plan to place the focus of their company’s HR strategy on the skills and adaptability of employees and on productivity increases via automation and technology.

A record percentage of CEOs in Slovakia and worldwide are optimistic about global economic development and company growth

73% of CEOs in Slovakia are confident that global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months – this is the highest percentage since 2012, when PwC started conducting the CEO Survey in Slovakia. At the beginning of 2021, 76% of CEOs in other parts of the world were similarly optimistic about the development of the global economy. 55% of CEOs in Slovakia strongly believe that their company will grow over the next 12 months. And company growth over the next 3 years is expected by 66% of CEOs in Slovakia, which is also the highest percentage since 2012.

The strong optimism of CEOs in Slovakia and worldwide reflects improving COVID-19 vaccination rates. Survey respondents have been in charge of their companies for the last 18 months and, as they have successfully managed this difficult period, they trust the economy, their firms, and their capabilities.

CEOs in Slovakia are a little less optimistic about profitability – 47% of them are very confident, and 35% are somewhat confident, that their firm’s profit will grow over the next 12 months.

55% of CEOs in Slovakia believe their employee headcount will increase over the next 12 months

Over the last 12 months, the number of staff decreased at one-fifth of survey respondents’ organizations. 43% of CEOs in Slovakia expect a moderate, and 12% a significant, increase in their employee headcount in the next 12 months. For the 3-year horizon, they are even more optimistic – 44% expect a moderate, and 25% a significant, staff increase.

Companies expect better results than actual figures are, monitor more closely revenue growth and profitability and less closely return on investments

According to the opinions of CEOs, companies in Slovakia are better able to forecast revenue growth and profitability for the next 12 months than return on investments. One-third of CEOs state that forecasts of revenue growth and profitability are almost identical with actual results (±2%). Another third of CEOs state that revenue and profitability forecasts are higher, and a quarter of CEOs state that these forecasts are lower, than actual figures.

Regarding return-on-investments forecasts, almost one-third of CEOs in Slovakia do not know to what extent ROI forecasts related to advertising and brand-building, R&D and new product innovation, or to capital investments differ from actual figures. Almost half of CEOs predict that return on investments in advertising and brand-building is the same or higher than actual. As regards return on investments in R&D, almost one-third of CEOs expect better results than actual figures. And as to return on capital investments, the highest percentage of CEOs (39%) state that their forecasts are almost identical with actual results.

The percentage of CEOs in Slovakia looking for space for further optimizations dropped year-on-year from 74% to 50%

As regards growth initiatives, 62% of CEOs in Slovakia will seek organic company growth. Last year, three-quarters of CEOs planned to pursue initiatives aimed at increasing production or operational efficiency, but only 50% of CEOs plan to do the same this year. Last year, more CEOs (64%) stated they planned to introduce new products or services than this year (53%). The willingness to collaborate with other entrepreneurs or start-ups has also dropped by half from 20% to 10%. CEOs in other countries, when compared to CEOs in Slovakia, more often plan cooperation with other entrepreneurs or start-ups, new mergers or acquisitions, strategic alliances, or are considering selling the business. CEOs considering a merger or acquisition in Slovakia state they want to acquire talents, technologies, or processes.

18% of CEOs in Slovakia, and 21% in CEE, are considering new mergers and acquisitions to drive growth in the next 12 months, compared to 38% globally. The formation of a new strategic alliance or a joint venture is planned by 14% of CEOs in Slovakia and 20% of CEOs in CEE, compared to 35% worldwide.

Digital transformation will see the highest investment increase

When asked how CEOs plan to change long-term investments over the next 3 years due to the COVID-19 crisis, they unequivocally stated that the highest increase will relate to digital transformation. A moderate increase will affect initiatives to realize cost efficiencies, organic growth programmes, cybersecurity, and data privacy. Investments in supply chain restructuring, capital investments, advertising and brand-building, and in R&D will remain unchanged.

38% of CEOs plan the biggest increase in investments in digital transformation

Contact us

Věra  Výtvarová

Věra Výtvarová

Country Managing Partner, PwC Slovakia

Tel: +421 259 350 111

Mariana Butkovská

Mariana Butkovská

Marketing & Communications Leader, PwC Slovakia

Tel: +421 904 941 500

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