In 2018, U.S. CEOs are feeling strong confidence in the U.S. economy and their own growth prospects over the next three years. But overall growth expectations are modest, and factors like technology-driven disruption and cyber security are real concerns. That's according to KPMG LLP's "Growing Pains: 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook," an in-depth survey of 400 U.S. CEOs from a range of companies.
Key findings include:
CEOs said their key strategies for achieving growth over the next three years include M&A (23 percent), alliances with third parties (23 percent), and organic growth (22 percent).
They also are planning to undertake a number of actions relating to innovation and collaboration to achieve their growth objectives. These include setting up accelerator or incubator programs for startup firms (46 percent), making products and services available via online providers (43 percent), and partnering with third-party providers (42 percent).
Eighty-one percent see emerging markets as the priority for geographical expansion with a focus on Central and South America.
When asked about the risks posing the greatest threat to their organization's growth, CEOs identified cyber security (33 percent) and emerging and disruptive technology (20 percent). They are significantly less likely than their global counterparts to see a return to territorialism as a threat to growth.
Sixty-eight percent said it's now a case of "when," not "if," their organization becomes a victim of a cyber attack and 77 percent believe they are either "very well" or "well" prepared for it.
Organizations in the United States are well down the path of implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into process automation. Forty-nine percent have begun limited implementation of AI for specific processes, and 31 percent have already implemented it to automate a number of processes. A narrow majority (52 percent) of CEOs believe that more jobs will be created than eliminated by artificial intelligence and robotics technologies in their organizations over the next three years.
Looking at the importance of workforce capabilities in supporting future growth, CEOs are prioritizing specialists in emerging technology (76 percent), cyber security (75 percent), and scenario and risk modeling (74 percent).
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