Each year, PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey captures the issues at the top of the agenda for the world’s business community. Comparing and contrasting the views of business and government enables a better understanding of the policy and delivery responses today, and how public sector organisations themselves can get ready for tomorrow’s challenges.
Inclusive, good growth: the new agenda
Over the past 20 years CEOs have seen much change due to globalisation and technological change. Geopolitical uncertainty is seen as a top 5 threat to growth while 58% of the CEOs surveyed think it’s becoming harder to compete on the world stage due to more closed national policies. There are no silver bullets but policy action can help if directed to support the top drivers for growth, identified by the CEOs surveyed as innovation, technology and human capital.
Globalisation, technology & skills
People worry that globalisation will take away their jobs, and they’re even more nervous about the impact of technology. Yet CEOs are still hiring – and looking most for skills that can’t be replicated by machines, such as creativity & innovation (77%), leadership (75%) and emotional intelligence (64%). CEOs are searching more widely for talent. For many public bodies facing pay restraint and job cuts, it is therefore even more important for public leaders to invest in their people and offer attractive careers.
Trust: the currency of the digital age
Trust has been climbing steadily up the CEO agenda, and technology has exacerbated the challenge. In a more digitised world, CEOs say it’s harder to gain and keep trust in areas like data privacy and ethics, IT disruptions and artificial intelligence. Trust is really the currency of the digital age and those CEOs with government backing appear to appreciate this most acutely.
Closing the gap between rich and poor?
The vast majority of CEOs (90%+) think globalisation has helped to facilitate trade, connectivity and a skilled workforce. But sizeable percentages of CEOs don’t believe globalisation has helped at all to: close gap between rich and poor (44%); enhance the fairness and integrity of global tax systems (35%); and avert climate change and resource scarcity (28%). Government action is needed but on its own is not enough: business has an important role too. CEOs believe that collaboration between business and government is needed to drive the kind of systemic change which can result in the proceeds of globalisation and new technology being distributed in a way that can help to close the gap between rich and poor.
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