Confident approach

82 per cent CEOs in India have confidence in the growth prospects for their company. This number is marginally lower compared to where it stood at 92 per cent in March 2021 and much higher than 42 per cent, in August 2020.

However, despite being low on confidence, they are ready to combat all kinds of risks and disruptions to recover better, with 55 per cent CEOs in India having faith in the prospects for the global economy (up from 18 per cent in August 2020).

Keeping with the declining confidence in growth prospects, we also see a decline in confidence amongst 95 per cent CEOs in India when it comes to their organisation’s earnings outlook over the next three years.

Organisation’s earnings outlook over the next three years

At the same time, 90 per cent of CEOs in India are slightly more optimistic that the headcount of their company will increase over the next three years compared to that of their global counterparts at 88 per cent. Given this sentiment, CEOs in India are placing more investment in developing their workforce's skills and capabilities. However, compared to CEOs globally, CEOs in India are lesser focused on buying modern technology but are more focused in developing their workforce's skills and capabilities.

Aggressive growth strategies

Coming to growth strategies, 35 per cent CEOs in India believe that organic methods such as innovation, R&D and capital investments will be crucial for realising their growth objectives over the next three years.

At the same time, the M&A appetite of CEOs in the country has increased significantly. Data suggests that 55 per cent CEOs in India (up from 26 per cent in March 2021) have said that they are likely to undertake acquisitions which will have a significant impact on the overall organisation. This is also slightly higher compared to CEOs globally at 50 per cent.

With cautious optimism and realistic confidence, CEOs in India have set themselves the below top operational priorities to achieve growth over the next three years.

Comparison of operational priorities set by CEOs in India and globally

The risk factors

Even with a solid roadmap to recovery, pandemic-related issues are still a cause for concern for CEOs in India. While supply chain, cyber security, regulatory and environment continue to be risks to organisational growth, 19 per cent CEOs in India (up from 6 per cent in March 2021 and 11 per cent this time last year in August 2020) perceive the most threat from operational risks.

Today, the perception of risks among CEOs in India, in areas such as cyber security (14 per cent), regulatory (13 per cent), supply chain (10 per cent), reputational risk - including misalignment with customer/public sentiment (10 per cent) and climate change (6 per cent) has either declined or remained similar to findings from March 2021, this year.

A sector view on risks in India reveals
A sector view on risks in India reveals

CEOs in India believe that the roadmap to recovery is one that is led by intentions to achieve realistic growth objectives. The acceleration in digital technologies we have seen during the pandemic has meant that markets now operate more quickly. There has been a reset in the velocity of business, in areas such as customer behaviour, and CEOs in India need to ensure their companies are plugged in to this new dynamic and are leading the pack.