Global CEOs foresee more hiring in next 3 years


By Neil Amato

Seventy-eight per cent of global CEOs expect to hire more workers in the next three years, and the chief executives mostly are upbeat about growth prospects for their own countries, according to a new survey.

KPMG’s Global CEO Outlook shows optimism but also highlights challenges facing businesses worldwide. A strong majority (86%) are concerned about customer loyalty, echoing a theme of an earlier global survey by PwC that mentioned changing customer behaviour as a potentially disruptive trend. Also in the KPMG survey, 74% are concerned about new market entrants’ disrupting their business models, and 72% are concerned about keeping pace with new technology.

Regarding three-year growth projections, 62% of CEOs are more confident than they were a year ago, and 6% are less confident than a year ago. Three per cent expect to decrease staffing numbers in the next three years, and 19% expect headcount to remain unchanged.

KPMG surveyed 1,278 CEOs, 65% of which lead publicly traded companies, from Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US.

Global economic growth (54%) was cited as the top issue that could impact companies today, followed by regulation (45%), disruptive technology (34%), geopolitical risks (32%), and currency rate volatility (30%).

Other key findings include:

  • 44% of CEOs said they are only somewhat comfortable with their current business model, and 5% said they are uncomfortable.
  • 66% are concerned about the relevance of their product or service in the next three years.
  • 56% said they have not fully implemented a company-wide process for innovation. The top three barriers to innovation are rapidly changing customer dynamics, uncertainty about which technology will deliver the greatest return, and budget constraints.
  • While 89% said they are taking at least a moderately aggressive growth approach, 30% say they are not taking enough risk as it relates to their growth strategy.

“Many CEOs in our study have repeated what I am hearing when I meet with business leaders—that they need to take more calculated risks with their growth strategies,” KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer said in a news release. “They know that they are going to have to do things differently, and they are looking hard at their organisations to determine how they can transform to stay relevant and strengthen their competitive positions.”

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Why Risk-Management Leaders Generate Higher Profits”: Executives and corporate directors believe business uncertainties and threats are increasing, a PwC survey suggests. The survey results explain how improved risk-management programmes can improve financial performance.

Global Insurers Embrace Link Between Risk Management, Business Strategy”: Almost three-fourths of global insurance companies say their leadership views risk management as having strategic value, according to Towers Watson. The number of insurers satisfied with their ERM performance has increased in the past two years.

Neil Amato (namato@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.