Nearly 40% of chief executives think their companies will “not be economically viable” in a decade unless they transform their operations, according to a major survey unveiled in line with the annual Davos meeting.
PwC’s 26th Annual Global Survey, which polled 4,410 chief executives in 105 countries, reveals that 73% believe economic growth will decline in the next 12 months. The bleak outlook is the most pessimistic since the survey first asked about global economic growth 12 years ago. It is also a significant departure from 2021 and 2022, when 76% and 77% respectively thought that growth would improve.
Four out of 10 leaders think their organisations will not be economically viable in 10 years if they continue on their current path. The pattern is consistent across a range of sectors, including telecommunications (46%), manufacturing (43%), healthcare (42%), and technology chiefs (41%).
While cyber and health threats were the top concerns a year ago, the economic downturn is the biggest fear for leaders this year, with inflation (40%) and macroeconomic volatility (31%) leading the expected risks over the next five years. A quarter of chief executives feel exposed to geopolitical conflict risks, whereas worries over cyber risks and climate change have fallen in relative terms.
The war in Ukraine, and growing concern about geopolitical flashpoints elsewhere, are forcing leaders to rethink business models. Almost half of respondents are integrating a wider range of disruptions into scenario planning and operating models by increasing investments in cybersecurity or data privacy, while 46% are adjusting supply chains and the same percentage are re-evaluating market presence or expanding into new markets.