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PwC: UK business leaders new focus

By Rob Starr, Content Manager,

Analysis from the PwC 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.

The findings from the UK CEOs polled for the survey, the 16th carried out by PwC, indicate that in the next 12 months they intend to focus on cutting costs (83% – well above the global average), prioritising investments that will grow their customer base 62% (compared with 51% globally)

Pursuing business opportunities requires confidence in the future, and when UK CEOs were asked about their confidence over revenue growth for the next three years, their views were in line with their counterparts across Western Europe, with around one-third being ‘very confident’. However, confidence among CEOs in other parts of the world is far higher, for example in Mexico (61%), rising to 79% across Africa, and an overwhelming 85% in India.

On the positive side, this finding suggests that UK businesses are actively seeking out opportunities to generate real growth in their mature home market but it may also mean that their acquisition strategies are staying more within their domestic ‘comfort zone’ than those of their international competitors.

UK CEOs 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 according to PwC . 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%.

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