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Digital growth

Growing pains

Growing pains

Global CEO Outlook 2018

For our fourth annual Global CEO Outlook, we reached out to 1,300 CEOs of large companies from around the world to get their views of the highest-priority opportunities and most daunting challenges they and their businesses face.

As in prior years, we’ve seen how quickly the world is changing for today’s business leaders, and what this means for how they are leading and growing their organisations.

Exploring a broad range of business drivers, risks and pain points, this year’s report offers insights into how new and evolving forces are continuing to raise the bar for CEOs in all countries and all sectors.

In 2017, we found CEOs excited about the future: they saw technology-driven change as a significant opportunity to disrupt their sector.

That optimism continues in 2018, with business leaders showing great faith in the economic environment, both nationally and globally.

The CEOs we speak with around the world are more open to new thinking, learning new skills and challenging convention than ever before.

However, that optimism is tempered by caution and realism, with a clear recognition that, in order to grow their businesses, they need to respond to an ever-expanding spectrum of complex challenges and ‘growing pains’.

While the CEOs surveyed still predict that their businesses will grow in the coming year, forecasts are lower than last year and a majority say they need to hit growth targets before they start hiring new people.

Reviewing the results and the insights from these senior executives, you can’t help but be struck by the sheer volume and depth of the issues CEOs are facing and how they are personally focusing their efforts as leaders to face them.

It’s not surprising in the current environment to see geopolitical issues rising up the CEO radar. Technology continues to command considerable attention — as an enabler, a disruptor and, with the threat of cyber attacks, a very significant risk.

Data privacy is also understandably high on the CEO agenda.

Even with the increased reliance on data-driven models and analytics to make decisions, the CEOs we have spoken with are still relying on the value of their experienceand intuition in making the difficult strategic calls for the future of their organisations.

Our thanks go to all the CEOs who gave their time and spoke so candidly about the issues they face in their roles. Being a CEO in this period of such profound disruption and opportunity poses immense personal and professional challenges.

The CEOs we speak with around the world are more open to new thinking, learning new skills and challenging convention than ever before. If you would like to talk to our professionals about the perspectives and issues raised here, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how your business can gain from these insights.

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