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UK confidence in tackling cyber security grows to match global counterparts as risk from emerging tech rises

UK confidence in tackling cyber security grows

New figures included in the 2019 KPMG CEO Outlook survey reveal that more UK CEOs feel prepared for a future cyber-attack as the number rose by almost a third from 2018.


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New figures included in the 2019 KPMG CEO Outlook survey reveal that more UK CEOs feel prepared for a future cyber-attack as the number rose by almost a third, 28 percentage points (38% to 66%), since last year. Globally the number grew by 17 percentage points (51% - 68%) from 2018.

The global research surveyed 1,300 CEOs in 11 of the world’s largest economies; 150 of which were CEOs running companies in the UK. In addition to preparedness for cyber security issues, the findings highlight increased confidence in exploring emerging technology, and strategic alliances amongst new ways of driving growth.

Paul Taylor, UK Lead Partner for cyber in the boardroom at KPMG, said:

“It’s positive to see such a rapid increase in UK businesses alert to the significant threat of a cyber-attack and proactively investing in cyber security. This is an issue that costs the global economy an estimated $450 billion a year, and one increasingly becoming a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’, therefore companies must have this high on the Board agenda.”

Although emerging technology rose up the risk agenda to number one, ahead of climate change and economic nationalism, both of which had previously topped the list as the greatest threats to an organisation’s growth – there was good news for business resilience.

Data revealed that 93% of UK Chief Executives rated ‘embracing technological disruption as an opportunity rather than a threat’. This was reinforced by a 15 percentage point year-on-year increase which saw 59% of leaders say that rather than waiting to be disrupted, their organisation is already actively disrupting its sector.

Despite less than half of UK leaders demonstrating confidence in the prospects for global economic growth over the next three years, the UK demonstrated the most willingness to drive growth by challenging established methods. This included the highest appetite globally for setting up accelerators and incubators for start-ups (UK – 69%; globally – 60%), corporate venturing (69%; 59%), and partnering with third-party data providers (65%; 49%) or cloud technology (56%; 50%).

Bernard Brown, Vice Chair at KPMG UK, commented:

“As we explore the new wave of risks facing businesses, these figures are a timely reminder of the testing times that senior executives must navigate through. Looking beyond Brexit, CEOs are optimistic and able to use this complex backdrop as an opportunity to become more resilient and innovative, and proactively lead an agenda that addresses the disruptive issues that have the potential to challenge customer trust.

“It may be surprising for some to learn that in the current climate UK leaders are more willing than their global counterparts to shake things up, but ‘transformation’, ‘digital capabilities’ and ‘resilience’ can’t simply be buzzwords. If these CEOs want to lead businesses that not only endure uncertain conditions, but businesses that will ultimately thrive – acting on these themes is vital.”




For media enquiries, please contact:

Jennifer Ogunleye, Corporate Communications, KPMG UK

T: 0773 4188 7015


KPMG Press Office:

T: +44 (0) 207 694 8773


Notes to Editors:

The survey data published in the 2019 KPMG CEO Outlook is based on a survey of 1,300 CEOs in 11 of the world’s largest economies: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US. One hundred and fifty of them were CEOs running companies in the UK.

The survey was conducted between 8 January and 20 February 2019. The CEOs operate in 11 key industries: asset management, automotive, banking, consumer and retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications.

Of the 1,300 CEOs, 310 came from companies with revenues between US$500 million and US$999 million; 543 from companies with revenues between US$1 billion and US$9.9 billion; and 447 from companies with revenues of US$10 billion or more.

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 16,300 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.338 billion in the year ended 30 September 2018. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and has 200,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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