Here’s to a Better Year, CEOs Hope

CEO confidence about the global economy is on the upswing, but the corporate bosses are also concerned about growth potential, attracting talent, and dealing with international regulations, according to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global CEO Survey. These track closely with the biggest concerns of today's supply chain professionals.

The annual report, released at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month, gives a good gauge of where c-level top brass see potential bright spots for the coming year and details what's worrying them.

For 2014, executives are optimistic about seeing global economic growth and corporate growth. About 44% of the 1,344 CEOs interviews expect to see an improvement in the world economy over the next 12 months. That's a notable increase in sentiment from last year, when only 18% held the same view. Reversely, just 7% predict the global economy will decline, a sharp decrease from 28% who expected that in 2013.

Slightly less — 39% — say they are “very confident” of their own companies' revenue growth prospects for the next 12 months, up from 36% last year and much higher than the low of 21% in 2009, the survey found.

It's not all hunky-dory, though. There are trouble spots they're watching as well.

For example, the level of concern about overregulation (72% of those polled) and fiscal deficits (71%) are “as high as they have ever been,” according to the press release.

They're also jittery about the slowdown in emerging economies, sluggish growth in developed markets, increasing tax burdens, and exchange rate volatility — those pesky things that often get these senior managers uptight. Watch this video for more study results from PwC CEO Dennis Nally:

Do you agree with the CEOs? Are you planning for an up year, or do you think it's too early to pop out the champagne and celebrate predicted economic improvements? What challenges do you see in the coming 12 months and how are you addressing them?

And, there's anxiety about the availability of key skills, with 63% naming that a major worry. That concern dovetails another one — 52% of those polled noted that regulations have made it more difficult to attract skilled workers. The skills and talent gaps is something EBN has been covering in-depth recently, and it sounds like it will stay spotlight for the foreseeable future. (See Saving Supply Chain Mid-Management Talent and our latest edition of the Velocity e-zine, where the talent pinch is the main theme for the quarter publication.)

But even with the talent concerns weighing heavy on their minds, many companies seem poised to put out the “Hiring” sign. Half of the CEOs surveyed are expecting to add to staff over the next 12 months, slightly up from the 45% who had such plans last year. There's more good news — the technology industry topped the list of where job prospects look most positive.

To help close the shortfall in talent, an overwhelming 93% of CEOs said they are making changes to their talent strategies. The report doesn't go into much detail about how their talent strategies are shifting, but it will be fun to watch how they unfold this year.

9 comments on “Here’s to a Better Year, CEOs Hope

  1. t.alex
    February 10, 2014

    It is interesting to hear that the majority of CEOs are saying there will be change in talent strategies. Is it true that they are now realizing the great potential of talents rather than purely the cost-center?

  2. Ashu001
    February 10, 2014


    I was thinking about this very same issue!

    Just feel that its more because of Natural Attrition that comes with Employees Retiring or moving on to Better Pastures today.

    Don't really think they would make this move unless they were absolutely forced by Circumstances today.


  3. Eldredge
    February 10, 2014

    To help close the shortfall in talent, an overwhelming 93% of CEOs said they are making changes to their talent strategies.

    If the exact skills desired for a position are in short supply, isn't the only other optionto hire someone who is willing to learn, and train for the gaps? What other strategies are available? 


  4. Ashu001
    February 11, 2014


    That is definitely a serious issue to consider and ponder.

    The only other strategy I can think of is to promote from within.

    If you can promote from within quickly then you can Save your Organization a lot of the Chaos which typically tends to engulf it when an outsider enters the picture and tries to shake things up dramatically[You know bring his own people in,etc].

    This is something which happens even in the case when an Insider is promoted upwards but the friction is usually much less.



  5. Eldredge
    February 11, 2014

    @tech4people – Good point. Some of the top companies actively engage in succession planning for key technical and managerial positions to facilitate promotion from within. It makes a lot of sense, and the personnel are already familiar with the corporate culture, which is an additional advantage. It does require advance planning and investment by these companies, but obviously it pays off for them.

  6. Ashu001
    February 12, 2014


    As a matter of fact most Mid-Sized to Large Companies[Anyone with more than 500 Employees] do tend to have some form of Succession Planning or the other to take care of various Contingencies that can happen.

    In fact if a Company Does'nt do this-Its a Massive Warning Sign that maybe the Company is not doing things the right way and one needs to Dig Deeper to see what exactly is Going on there.


  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    February 13, 2014

    @t.alex, i would hazard a guess that every organizatoin is different. However, i've seen a definite trend toward recognizing supply chain activities as a strategic differentiator rather than simpmly a cost center. That means that, hopefully, it has trickled down to those positions being filled by people who are dedicated to the art and craft of supply chain.

  8. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    February 13, 2014

    @Eldredge, the problem is that we are falling behind in the numbers game. The number of jobs is expanding faster than the available candidates. We have to do some grass roots education around what it means to be a supply chain professional. It doesn't yet have the visibility it needs.

  9. Eldredge
    February 13, 2014

    @Hailey – that bodes well for currently qualified candidates that do understand the ropes!

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