Although New Zealand CEOs are less positive about the outlook for the global economy than they were last year, 40% say they remain optimistic about their own business growth, a PwC’s survey has found.
The report shows only 23% believe the global economy will improve this year, a drop of 24% when compared to last year’s more confident 47%.
More than half of New Zealand CEOs believe the global economy will stay about the same this year.
PwC New Zealand chief executive Bruce Hassall says that the outlook for New Zealand may prove to be more resilient than many currently believe.
“Given the wide-ranging uncertainties CEOs are facing - cyber security, over-regulation, geopolitical stability – it’s easy to see why they’re divided about whether there are more threats or opportunities today. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Kiwi organisations are remaining optimistic about their own growth prospects despite the possibility of a stagnant or declining global economy.”
There are more opportunities for growth than three years ago according to fifty-five% of New Zealand CEOs and 66% say there are also more threats.
To equip themselves for this challenge, chief executives are focusing on three core capabilities: addressing greater stakeholder expectations; harnessing talent, innovation and technology; and new metrics for success beyond the bottom line, Hassall says.
“CEOs everywhere are understanding that despite the tremendous challenges they face today, they need to build a business that’s ready for the more complex global marketplace of the future.”
To strengthen their companies over this year, 64% of New Zealand CEOs say they will cut costs (compared with 68% globally), 57% will form strategic alliances or joint ventures (49% globally) and 21%will outsource a business process or function (28% globally).
Availability of key skills is one of the top worries among CEOs in New Zealnd (85%) and concerns about the speed of technological change dropped from the second-highest concern last year to now rank fifth in New Zealand.
Concern about cyber threats and the lack of data security also is a top concern with 77% of New Zealand CEOs viewing it as a major threat to business growth.
Over-regulation was noted by 74 per cent of New Zealand respondents, and 79 per cent of CEOs worldwide; the fourth year in a row that it has risen.
Other top concerns cited by New Zealand’s CEOs include exchange rate volatility (74%), and geopolitical uncertainty (54%) although less than global peers (74%).