CEOs have begun to regain confidence. They’ve successfully guided their companies through recession and now more CEOs feel positive about their ability to increase their revenues and prospects for the global economy.
Regionally, CEOs in Western Europe are the most confident about short-term global economic prospects (50%), in line with signs of improving conditions. They are followed by those in the Middle East (49%), Asia Pacific (45%), Latin America (41%), North America (41%) and Africa (40%). CEOs in Central and Eastern Europe show the lowest level of confidence at 26%.
The survey results have been released on 21 January, 2014, at the opening of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
According to the survey, CEOs’ viewpoint on the economy slants upward and this effected their major concerns. Government action, or the lack of it, tops the list of CEO worries. The level of concern about over-regulation at 72% and fiscal deficits at 71% are as high as they have ever been. Countries where CEOs are particularly worried about over regulation include France 88%, Australia 85%, India 82% and Germany 77%. In the US it is fiscal deficits that have CEOs most worried with 92% CEOs expressing concern, followed by Argentina at 90% and France at 84%.
In addition, CEOs say they are worried almost as much about a slowdown in emerging economies, 65%, as they are about sluggish growth in developed markets, 71%. Other top concerns include increasing tax burdens (70%), as well as availability of key skills (63%), exchange rate volatility (60%) and lack of stability in capital markets (59%).
But such topical subjects as cyber threats – including lack of data security – and the speed of disruptive technological change are named as threats by less than half of CEOs.
Talking in more detail about regulation, nearly 80% of CEOs say it has increased costs, while 52% say that regulation makes it more difficult to attract skilled workers. And 40% say regulation has inhibited their efforts to pursue a new market opportunity or to pursue innovation. On the positive side, over half of CEOs credit regulation for helping to improve service delivery and quality standards.
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