Exploring a broad range of business drivers, risks and pain points, this year’s report offers insights into how new and evolving forces are continuing to raise the bar for CEOs in all countries and all sectors.
Global CEOs realistic about growth in the face of unprecedented headwinds
55 percent predict cautious revenue growth of less than 2 percent over next 3 years: 4th annual KPMG International survey
Despite being relatively bullish on the economy at large as well as their overall outlook for their country, optimism from global CEOs is tempered by a healthy dose of realism, with half (55 percent) predicting cautious topline revenue growth for their own business. Half of CEOs (52 percent) say they will need to hit growth targets before hiring new skills. According to the KPMG Global CEO Outlook, they are driving growth against a backdrop of significant demographic shifts, geopolitical volatility and the seemingly inevitable future cyber-attack. CEOs are stepping up to the cyber challenge, in particular, with 59 percent saying they feel a personal responsibility for protecting customer data.
Stepping up to the challenge of an uncertain world
CEOs play an essential role in pivoting their organizations to the consumers of tomorrow in order to seize every opportunity to grow, with four in ten (38 percent) responding that their business requires repositioning to meet the needs of Millennials. There’s also a growing sense of inevitability of a cyber breach with nearly half (49 percent) of CEOs saying that becoming the victim of an attack is a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. Given the current geopolitical environment, it’s perhaps not surprising that a ‘return to territorialism’ was named the number one threat to growth this year.
Driving realistic growth CEOs are optimistic about the macroeconomic environment; they are confident about global and industry growth prospects (67 and 78 percent, respectively). They’re also feeling confident in their individual country growth (74 percent are confident, although this is down 3 percentage points from 2017). But there’s a more complex story emerging regarding company growth prospects:
90 percent are confident in their company’s growth prospects (up 7 percentage points from 2017).
However, only 37 percent plan to increase headcount by more than 6 percent over the next 3 years (down 10 percentage points).
And 55 percent predict cautious revenue growth of less than 2 percent over the next 3 years.
EXPLORE NOW: CEO OUTLOOK 2018 [PDF]
Making digital a personal crusade
CEOs are embracing the digital agenda like never before and taking personal ownership of data and trust.
Putting instinct over facts
With customer demands changing continually, and the technology landscape in a constant state of flux, agility and intuition are critical.
Rising cyber threats
Developing markets a focus for growth
Seventy percent say their biggest priority for geographical expansion is emerging markets, with Central/South America noted as the most important region.