28 February 2012:
PwC's 15th Annual Global CEO Survey, “Delivering results: Growth and value in a volatile world”, seeks to understand how businesses are preparing for growth in their priority markets. They spoke to 1,258 CEOs based in 60 countries, and carried out a further 38 in-depth CEO interviews. The survey explores CEO confidence in their company’s growth prospects, and how they’re building local capabilities and creating new stakeholder networks in new markets.
Mounting uncertainties are pressuring CEOs’ confidence. But businesses are not entirely on the defensive. Trends that support long-term investments in key markets remain firmly in place. Half of CEOs based in developed markets believe that emerging economies are more important to their company’s future, as do 68% of CEOs who are themselves based in emerging markets.
Local approaches to global growth
CEOs are committed to expanding local customer bases in their priority markets. But rather than simply exporting products, they're building diverse local operations, from services capabilities to manufacturing capacity. Critically, they're changing their product mix — and sometimes their entire operating models — to meet very local needs and conditions.
Shored up balance sheets and more flexible supply chains have helped. But there's still plenty for CEOs to worry about. For example, most CEOs in Western Europe are concerned about instability in capital markets. Currency volatility is a potential constraint in Asia Pacific, while rising taxes and over-regulation loom large for CEOs in Latin America.
Facing the talent challenge
Skills shortages are having a real impact on growth. One in four CEOs said they’ve had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent constraints. Rising compensation is one factor, but for more CEOs, there is simply a deficit of qualified candidates at a time when more CEOs expect to expand their workforces than to reduce.
Innovating on multiple fronts
The innovation priority remains: Almost a third of CEOs believe that their biggest opportunities for growth lie in developing new products and services. CEOs in the communications and entertainment & media sectors are the most active on all fronts, whether it means refocusing innovation efforts for existing products and services or for entirely new products in new models.