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Leaning into AI and data

Achieving growth is becoming increasingly difficult in an uncertain business environment; yet local female leaders have become more confident about growth, year on year. The findings also show local CEOs to be significantly more optimistic than local female leaders. Although 78% of UAE-based female leaders are optimistic about growth for their own company (94% among UAE-based CEOs), only 40% are confident about the global economy. UAE CEOs do not share this assessment, however, exhibiting a significantly more optimistic attitude toward the global economy: 63% anticipate growth over the next three years.
 

Growth prospects for your company

  

KPMG!
16 %

Very confident

KPMG!
62 %

Confident

KPMG!
18 %

Neutral

KPMG!
4 %

Not very confident

Growth prospects for your industry

   

KPMG!
12 %

Very confident

KPMG!
50 %

Confident

KPMG!
30 %

Neutral

KPMG!
8 %

Not very confident

Growth prospects for your country

   

KPMG!
10 %

Very confident

KPMG!
38 %

Confident

KPMG!
28 %

Neutral

KPMG!
22 %

Not very confident

Growth prospects for global economy

   

KPMG!
2 %

Very confident

KPMG!
38 %

Confident

KPMG!
48 %

Neutral

KPMG!
12 %

Not very confident

Regarding medium-term top-line growth, female senior executives are optimistic. Twenty percent (17% in 2018) expect maximum growth of 1.9%, and 26% (21% in 2018) expect growth of between 2% and 4.9%. The number of female leaders expecting growth of more than 10% has fallen from 31% in 2018 to 20% in 2019. On the other hand, female leaders in the UAE are significantly more optimistic regarding top-line revenue growth over the next three years, than local CEOs. While only 26% of female leaders anticipate growth lower than 2%, three times as many (77%) of local CEOs expect this level of muted growth.

Infographic anticipating growth chart 1
Infographic anticipating growth 1

While 40% (60% globally) look to organic growth as the best way to reach anticipated expansion, a quarter (24%, 21% globally) plan to accelerate growth through strategic alliances and one in five (22%) through joint ventures (only 3% globally).

Similar to last year, seven in ten (70%, 76% in 2018) of UAE women leaders consider technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat. Although disruption is broadly viewed as positive, one in five (22%) see new disruptive technologies as the greatest risk to their company’s growth, with operational risk perceived as the second most relevant threat (20%).

Infographic anticipating growth chart 2
Infographic anticipating growth chart 3

In line with the UAE government’s agenda, we see a growing affinity for new technologies, with 38% of local female leaders saying they are already using AI applications. While only 4% of respondents expect AI applications to generate a return on investment (ROI) over the next 12 months, almost a third (30%) expect to see a significant ROI within one to three years.

Female executives believe in the potential of new technologies, as underscored by their trust in computer generated decision or data analysis models. Nearly half (48%) of respondents rely on technology, rather than their own experience or intuition. This figure is up slightly from last year (45%) and is in line with findings from our 2019 UAE CEO Outlook (46%).