Global CEO Outlook 2017: The outlook for Australia | KPMG | AU
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Global CEO Outlook 2017: The outlook for Australia

Global CEO Outlook 2017: The outlook for Australia

Australian CEOs are confident about their companies’ growth prospects, but less optimistic about both their countries’ and global economic prospects than their international peers, according to KPMG’s 2017 global study of CEOs.


Partner, Chief Economist

KPMG Australia


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Australian companies set to disrupt and grow

The 2017 Global CEO Outlook is based on in-depth interviews with nearly 1,300 CEOs, including many from Australia, who are leading some of the world’s largest companies. Speaking to these CEOs provides unique insights into the strategic issues they are focused on, their expectations for business growth and the challenges they face over the next 3 years.

“The world has become a far more complicated place – economically, geopolitically and technologically. This complexity and uncertainty breeds opportunity, to which leaders must respond." 

“This year we see the CEO looking to be a disruptor, not the disrupted, harnessing uncertainty by challenging their own role to better lead their business to success. CEOs are focusing on core strengths, but at the same time innovation and disruption remain key priorities for the future.”

Gary Wingrove
CEO, KPMG Australia

Key findings

Growth amidst heightened uncertainty

  • Despite being increasingly cautious about the economic growth prospects, both nationally and globally, 91 percent of Australian CEOs are confident about their own companies’ growth prospects over the next 3 years.

Headcounts on the rise

  • Australian CEOs’ optimism in driving company growth is reflected in their predicted headcount increase – 91 percent expect to increase staff by up to 10 percent over the next 3 years.

Battle for talent in cognitive revolution

  • Eighty percent of Australian CEOs expect to increase investment in cognitive technology over the next 3 years. Alongside their Japanese counterparts, Australian CEO’s are the most proactive in this area (only 60 percent of their global counterparts are investing in this space).

Evolution of the CEO

  • Nine in ten (91 percent) of Australian CEOs (compared to 70 percent globally) say they are now more open to new influences and collaborations than at any other point in their career. 61 percent (compared to 45 percent globally) also rate a high emotional intelligence as being more important than their technical skills.

Top risks and opportunities

  • 4 out of 5 (80 percent) of Australian CEOs rate Cyber Security as a top investment priority and amongst the top five risk areas for their business. Less than half (45 percent) believe they are fully prepared for a cyber-threat.
  • Regulatory changes, geopolitical uncertainty and global economic factors are thought to be the top three factors impacting company growth over the next 3 years.
  • Over half (55 percent) are investing heavily in innovation (new products, services and ways of doing business) and 43 percent are pursuing an innovation-led business model transformation as a route to growth.
  • Ongoing success relies on good quality data, yet 61 percent of Australian CEOs (compared to 45 percent globally) say that their customer insight is hindered by a lack of quality customer data.

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