TBY talks to Carlos Méndez, current Assurance Leader and next Territory Senior Partner of PwC Mexico, on the results of a survey based on interviews with 1,258 CEOs and released at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in January 2012.

How do CEOs feel about the global economy's landscape?

Uncertainty dampens the outlook for 2012, but confidence in company revenue growth remains ahead of 2009. Nearly half (48%) of the CEOs polled worldwide believe that the global economy will decline even further in the next 12 months. However, 40% of CEOs said they are “very confident" about revenue growth for their companies in the next 12 months.

What actions are CEOs taking regarding the work force?

More than half of CEOs worldwide expect to increase headcount in the next 12 months, although the picture changes from sector to sector with hiring much more likely in the entertainment and media segments.

How do CEOs perceive the euro zone crisis?

Unsurprisingly, the largest decline in confidence was found in Western Europe. Just a quarter of European CEOs said they were very confident of revenue growth, down sharply from nearly 40% last year. While 56% of CEOs said their company had been financially affected by the sovereign debt crisis, 45% said they had taken steps to respond.

“40% of CEOs said they are 'very confident' about revenue growth for their companies in the next 12 months."

What are the main concerns for global CEOs?

Looking at what is worrying CEOs, 80% had some concerns about uncertain economic growth, 64% about instability in capital markets, 66% about government responses to fiscal deficits and debt burden, 58% about exchange rate volatility, and 56% about over regulation.

Where do CEOs foresee the main growth opportunities?

According to the CEOs we surveyed, the best strategic growth opportunities in the next 12 months will come from increasing their share in existing markets and from developing new products and services, both cited by nearly one third of respondents. Top growth targets were the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), joined by the US and Germany.

How do CEOs feel about finding the right talent?

Finding and keeping the right talent remains a top concern for CEOs. Only 30% said they are “very confident" they will have access to the talent needed to execute their company's strategy, and 43% believe that it has become more difficult to hire workers in their industry. Recruiting and retaining high potential middle managers is the largest talent challenge, CEOs said, followed by hiring skilled production employees and younger workers.

© The Business Year - May 2012