Question 1) - PwC recently released its 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. How do US CEOs see the global economy and their own growth prospects in 2014?
A1) - US CEOs feel more confident this time around, not only about their own ability to grow revenues in the coming year but also about the state of the global economy. When we asked US CEOs in our 17th Annual Global CEO Survey how confident they feel about their own growth prospects in the next 12 months, 36% said 'very confident'. This compares to 30% last year.
Turning to the global economy. What a difference a year makes. Only 4% think the economy will decline in 2014. Compare that to the 31% who said the economy would worsen in 2013. In fact, 40% believe the global economy will improve in the next 12 months, and it's very clear that US CEOs are breathing a little easier.
This confidence can be seen in their hiring plans. 62% expect to increase their headcount in the coming year, with 17% saying they are likely to cut their staff.
Question 2) What worries US CEOs most?
A2) The top concern of US CEOs -- and a massive 92% said this -- is the government's response to fiscal deficit and debt burden. US CEOs are more worried about this than any other country in the world. And who could blame them. There was the so-called fiscal cliff scare in early 2013. And the two week shutdown of the US government in October last year probably didn't help much to allay these concerns.
Understandably so, US CEOs are also worried about the continued slow, or even negative growth, in developed economies. And the constant clouds hanging over their heads..... over-regulation and the threat of the increasing tax burden.
So, in essence, US CEOs still have serious concerns, despite their returning confidence level.
Question 3) Where do US CEOs see growth opportunities?
US CEOs continue to rely on increasing share in their existing markets for growth in the coming year, with 37% saying they'll be going down this road.
M&As are no longer seen as an attractive growth opportunity. Only 14% of US CEOs are planning an M&A.
And reflecting the influence that technology and digital are having on every aspect of society, a higher number of US CEOs, 36%, cited product or service innovation as an important growth driver in 2014.
But there’s a glaring gap between aspiration and action. Only 27% of US CEOs have already started or completed the changes they’re planning to make their companies more innovative. While only 28% have made any headway in getting to grips with big data and 40% have altered their technology investments.
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