Navigating the rising tide of uncertainty – this is how the recently published the 23rd edition of PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey begins. In only two years, the general C-level feeling has turned 180 degrees.
In 2018, PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey revealed a record level of optimism regarding worldwide economic growth. This year, as CEOs look ahead to 2020, we see a record level of pessimism. For the first time, more than half of the CEOs we surveyed believe the rate of global GDP growth will decline. This caution has translated into CEOs’ low confidence in their own organisation’s outlook. Only 27% of CEOs are ‘very confident’ in their prospects for revenue growth in 2020, a low level not seen since 2009.
What is clouding the view from the top? In a word, uncertainty. Conducted in September and October of 2019, PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, which involved 1,581 chief executives in 83 territories, explores the sources and manifestations of uncertainty and how CEOs are taking action to address it.
Facts and key findings
- For the first time, more than half (53%) of CEOs believe the rate of global economic growth will decline. The data from Romania show that 57 per cent of CEO estimate a global decline, while 20 per cent of the surveyed managers think that the current status will keep it pace and 22 per cent show a more optimistic side.
- In respect of confidence on the organisation’s prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months, the share of CEOs very confident in their 12-month growth prospects fell to 27 per cent, the lowest level since 2009 at global level. In Romania, the per cent feel to 29 per cent from 32 per cent registered in 2019.
- Contributing to the decline in CEO confidence is uncertainty around regulation, trade and economic growth, globally. In Romania, the uncertainty and gloomy feeling resides in tax uncertainty, policy uncertainty and increasing tax obligation.
- CEOs are divided over whether government legislation will splinter the internet
- Only 18% of organizations globally cite significant progress in establishing an upskilling programmes. In Romania, the figures state that 17 per cent of CEOs see a significant progress, while 35 per cent cite a moderate progress and almost 30 per cent think that “organizations start to make a progress”. Romanian numbers are closely comparable with the global feeling.
- CEOs globally recognize greater opportunities today from climate change initiatives compared to ten years ago. Romania scores the lowest percentages here, with only 12 per cent of the surveyed CEOs strongly agreeing that climate change initiatives will lead to significant new product and service opportunities for their organisations. Globally, this percentage is 25 per cent, while in CEE region, the score is 19 per cent.
The survey and the explained figures can be found here: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-agenda/ceosurvey/2020.html#cs23DataExplorer
The statement of Bob Moritz, Global Chairman at PwC: “What a difference two years can make. In 2018 our Annual Global CEO Survey showed record high optimism regarding the outlook for global economic growth. This year however, we’re seeing a much different story. More than half of the CEOs we surveyed believe the rate of global growth will decline in 2020. And we’re seeing that pessimism translate to their outlook for their own organisations. Just 27% of CEOs are “very confident” in their prospects for revenue growth in 2020 – a level not seen since 2009. While this more subdued outlook may cause concern, it is also not surprising. Shifting headlines around trade conflicts, climate change, political strife, cyber threats, social unrest and the like, cloud CEOs outlook on the road ahead.
However, we see plenty of opportunities for those pushing ahead to drive long term growth – who have the courage to change organisations. And those who strive for operational excellence. Changes in technology, policy and consumer behavior will create new opportunities for success for those agile organisations who are able to develop differentiating capabilities in the area of data privacy, upskilling and sustainability. We invite you to explore these insights in more detail on our website and Learn how your organisations can Succeed in Uncertainty.”