• SOURCE: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Ian Powell, PwC UK Chairman and Senior Partner



Question (1): PwC recently released its 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. How do the UK CEOs see the global economy and their own growth prospects in 2014? Answer (1): UK CEOs are increasingly confident about their ability to grow revenues in 2014. Nine out of ten UK CEOs interviewed for our Global CEO Survey said they are 'confident' about their short term prospects, which is an increase from the 78% who shared the same sentiment last year. Interestingly, UK business leaders are among the most confident around the world.. UK CEOs are also very confident about the state of the global economy. So much so, none of the UK CEOs we interviewed thought the global economy will decline in 2014. An encouraging 61% of them in fact expect an improvement. This optimism mirrors improvement not only of the global economy but also the UK's domestic economy. As Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, commented back in November, for the first time in a long time, you don't need to be an optimist to see the glass as half full. Question (2) What are some of the main concerns of UK CEOs? Answer (2) The picture in the UK is similar to the global one. UK CEOs remain worried about the government's efforts to balance reform with growth. With a raft of rules and guidelines being proposed by lawmakers, it's probably unsurprising that over-regulation is cited as a major threat. 77% of UK CEOs expressed concern about the burden of regulation they face. The impact of continued slow or negative growth in developed economies also concerns UK CEOs. And like a lot of CEOs counterparts globally, UK CEOs are also concerned about finding the right talent to take their companies forward. Question (3) What's the next big thing that UK CEOs say will transform their businesses in the next five years? Answer (3) UK CEOs told us they think three big trends will transform their businesses in the coming five years. Firstly, given the fact that we're now living in an era of digital revolution, it's no surprise that four out of five say advances in technology, such as the digital economy, social media, mobile devices and big data will play a crucial role in reshaping their companies and creating value on a whole new level. The second trend is that two-thirds point to the global shifts in economic power. This is creating a different class of consumers in new markets, which means changes in global consumption patterns. The key challenge for UK CEOs is to identify how to capture this new and powerful group of consumers. Finally, more than half see demographic shifts as the next big thing that will transform the way they run their businesses. They are particularly focussed on the major impact that this will have on their human capital and in trying to find and secure tomorrow's workforce.
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