The key abilities during period of populism and slower growth will be decisive as regards success

Slovak CEO Survey 2019

Most CEOs expect economic growth will slow and are making preparations for cost cutting

In the last two years, we observed that global business leaders, and those

in Slovakia, were extremely optimistic about the growth of their firms and the economy. This year, however, we saw a record increase in pessimism. More than half of Slovak CEOs expect a slowdown in global economic growth. For global leaders, this figure is one third and almost one third in the CEE. Confidence in the growth of firms has also dropped. 43% of Slovak CEOs believe their businesses will grow over the next 12 months, compared to 53% last year. The confidence of Slovak business leaders in the growth of their firms over the next 3 years has dropped dramatically, from 40% to 15%.


Do you believe global economic growth will improve, stay the same, or decline over the next 12 months?




„It has been proven that diversity can help firms achieve better economic results and in current labour market conditions, diversity support initiatives are an effective tool for the improvement of business performance. However the introduction of diversity support measures is only in its infancy in Slovakia. Diversity support initiatives are mostly dealt with by HR functions and are mostly applied to make businesses more attractive on the labour market. However, diversity at work must be supported by top management and managed properly to function at a firm."

Alica Pavúková, Partner, Assurance Leader



The number of CEOs expecting a recession/crisis in the next 2-3 years has almost tripled




Cost cutting is on the agenda again, fewer leaders are relying on growth

While last year, a third of Slovak business leaders relied on organic growth of their revenues, this year the figure is one quarter. Cost-cutting initiatives, the importance of which has declined over the last two years, have started to dominate again in firms’ business plans in Slovakia and worldwide. However, one fifth of CEOs are also relying on launching new products and services, and one tenth on entering new markets. Last year, a half of business leaders planned mergers or acquisitions, whereas this figure dropped to one third this year.


Which of the following activities, if any, are you planning in the next 12 months in order to drive revenue growth?

Slovak CEOs consider populism and the increasing tax burden as the biggest threats to business


CEOs in Slovakia are aware of business threats and consider populism, the increasing tax burden, protectionism, and overregulation as the biggest ones. The percentage of business leaders concerned about populism is almost twice as high in Slovakia than the global average (54% vs 28%). In contrast, trade disputes are a cause of concern for a third of CEOs globally, but only one fifth of Slovak CEOs are extremely concerned about them. Protectionism is perceived as a threat by business representatives and is making them prepare alternative scenarios. Business threats differ in each region, but political uncertainty and populism are ranked high globally.

The percentage of business leaders concerned about populism is almost twice as high in Slovakia than the global average (54% vs 28%).


The biggest threats relate to human resources – availability of key skills and demographic shifts

„Placing burdens on selected industries and categories of businesses does not contribute to the development of a favourable business environment. The tax and contribution burden in Slovakia is one of the highest in Europe, mostly due to high labour taxes. Current tax policy is still directed towards increasing this disproportion. The abolition of contribution caps results in a reduction of Slovakia’s competitiveness, particularly regarding products and services with higher added value. A simple and transparent tax system is one of the most important factors for investors when making decisions."

Christiana Serugová, Partner, Tax and Legal Services Leader


The most important success factor for Slovakia is qualified, educated and adaptable workforce 


Most important global trends:
1.     Technological progress
2.     Shift in global economic power
3.     Demographic shift


Most important success factors for the Slovak economy and society:
1.     Skilled, educated, and adaptable workforce
2.     Trust of population in liberal democracy and the free market
3.     Simple, stable, and effective taxation

61 %

 of CEOs in Slovakia stated that in the following five years, AI will significantly change the way they do business.

CEOs’ views differ on whether artificial intelligence will destroy or create more jobs



of CEOs participating in the survey have worked at least one year outside their home country


25 %

of firms represented in the survey have 500+ staff


24 %

are firms managed by their owners


38 %

of respondents manage firms with revenues exceeding EUR 30 million

Characteristics of companies which participated in the Slovak CEO Survey 2019

The 10th Annual Slovak CEO Survey was conducted by PwC, a consultancy firm, in cooperation with the Slovak edition of the Forbes Magazine. The CEOs contacted replied via an on-line or printed questionnaire from 5 December 2018 to 6 February 2019.

127 CEOs of companies operating in the Slovak market participated in the survey from various industries: financial services (banking & insurance), industrial manufacturing, construction, automotive, retail & distributive wholesale, consumer goods, transportation & logistics, information technology, telecommunications, energy & utilities, and other sectors.

The data for the 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey was collected in October and November 2018. 1378 CEOs participated in the survey, the sample is weighted by national GDP to ensure that CEOs are fairly represented across all major regions and the results were published during The World Economic Forum

in Davos held in January 2019.




Contact us

Alexander Šrank

Alexander Šrank

Country Managing Partner, PwC Slovakia

Tel: +421 259 350 587

Mariana Butkovská

Mariana Butkovská

Marketing & Communications Leader, PwC Slovakia

Tel: +421 904 941 500

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