By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
Analysis from PwC’s annual global CEO survey shows that, against the background of an uncertain and volatile global economy, UK business leaders’ confidence remains constrained by concerns over short term growth prospects.
Ian Powell, UK chairman and senior partner, PwC said:
“As UK businesses ride out the current uncertain period, in which ‘more of the same’ is the expectation of many economists, the question is whether the actions being taken now will equip them to adapt, grow and seize future opportunities. “
In their bid to keep their organisations ‘resilient’, UK CEOs said they were looking at a number of growth areas. Just over a third (38%) see opportunities for organic growth in the home market, with 24% citing new products or services. The countries favoured for overseas growth are the US, China, France and Germany.
Perhaps surprisingly, more UK business leaders are looking closer to home and expecting greater domestic growth as their key growth opportunity. Only 14% of UK business leaders are targeting organic growth in an existing foreign market (compared to 36% of German and 37% of French CEOs).
UK business leaders rate the availability of key skills as a bigger worry than their counterparts in any other Western European country and they are looking to Government to help them. Asked what should be the government’s priorities for business, four out of five UK respondents said creating and fostering a skilled workforce¾the highest proportion in any country surveyed, and well above the global average of 57%.
They also claim they’re prepared to pay for the right skills, with two-thirds planning to increase investment in building a skilled workforce over the next 12 months, and 45% saying they’ll increase headcount next year. However, in today’s challenging environment, still a third of UK CEOs are planning to cut headcount during the next twelve months, against just 23% globally.