UK CEOs remain confident
PwC’s latest Global CEO Survey shows that UK CEOs are more confident than their European peers, although the high levels of optimism seen last year have been tempered by concerns about access to key skills, disruptive trends and geopolitical uncertainty.
Growth prospects are less bullish when it comes to the overall outlook for the global economy and when asked about the most important countries for company growth, 48% of UK respondents said the US, followed by Germany (41%) and China (26%). Notably, global CEOs ranked the US ahead of China as an important market for growth for the first time in five years.
UK CEOs had a heightened perception of potential economic, policy and social threats. Top of the list was over regulation, which nearly nine out of 10 respondents cited as a concern, and access to talent is a growing problem. Compared with many of their European counterparts, CEOs in the UK are very concerned about the negative impact that a skills shortage may have, with 84% citing this as a key business threat.
In addition, 59% of UK CEOs were concerned by the speed of technological change, up from 55% last year – one in three questioned believes that a potential competitor to their business is emerging or could emerge from the technology industry.