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PwC survey: CEO confidence in growth declines dramatically

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Nearly three quarters of CEOs surveyed around the world pessimistically believe global economic growth will decline over the next year

A newly released survey of global chief executive officers suggests one of the most pessimistic outlooks in more than a decade.

The PwC Global survey found that 73 per cent of CEOs around the world believe global economic growth will decline over the next 12 months.

As part of the study, researchers polled 4,410 CEOs in 105 countries and territories, including Bermuda and in the Caribbean region, last October and November.

In addition to a challenging environment, nearly 40 per cent of CEOs think their organisations will not be economically viable in a decade if they continue on their present path. The pattern is consistent across a range of sectors, including insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing, healthcare and technology.

CEO confidence in their own company’s growth prospects also declined 26 per cent, the biggest drop since the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis when an 8 per cent decline was recorded.

Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda territory and Insurance leader, said they are seeing a level of pessimism among CEOs not seen in more than a decade.

“The risks facing organisations, people and our planet are relentless,” Mr Wightman said. “Consequently, CEOs globally, and here in Bermuda, are re-evaluating their operating models and reducing costs.

“If organisations are to survive the next few years, they must carefully balance the dual imperative of mitigating short-term risks and operational demands with long-term outcomes.

Nearly four out of ten CEOs across a range of sectors see a fatal threat to the economic viability of their companies in a decade if they continue on their present path

“CEOs face an incredible challenge to reinvent the business for the future, but also an opportunity to lead with purpose, be a catalyst of innovation and help solve important societal problems.”

CEOs are seeing multiple direct challenges to profitability within their own industries over the next ten years.

More than half believe changing customer demand/preferences will impact profitability, followed by changes in regulation, labour/skills shortages and technology disruptions.

Financial services CEOs cite regulatory change (66 per cent) as their biggest potential source of industry disruption, followed by evolving customer preferences, technology shifts and labour/skills shortages.

Inflation, macroeconomic volatility and geopolitical conflict topped CEO concerns.

The war in Ukraine and growing concern about geopolitical flashpoints in other parts of the world have caused CEOs to rethink aspects of their business models.

To mitigate exposure, companies are increasing their investments in cybersecurity or data privacy, adapting supply chains and adjusting their geographic footprint.

Climate risk did not feature as prominently as a short-term risk over the year relative to other global risks.

This was the case as well in the insurance sector where CEOs ranked it as the fourth-biggest risk they face over the next 12 months, while inflation was No 1.

Surprisingly, climate risk did not feature as prominently, relative to other global risks

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Published January 18, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated January 18, 2023 at 8:25 am)

PwC survey: CEO confidence in growth declines dramatically

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