Record levels of CEO optimism, stronger global economy in 2022 highly anticipated - survey

The coronavirus pandemic, in general, has put a lot of pressure on CEOs due to rising inflation and supply chain disruptions. 

 Maariv Business Summit 2021 (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Maariv Business Summit 2021
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)

The majority of CEOs predict a stronger global economy for 2022, with three-quarters of those who took part in a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as most optimistic since 2012, while only 15% expect there to be worsening conditions.

The survey, which is PwC’s 25th annual global CEO survey, also concludes that private equity CEOs are the most confident regarding economic growth in the next year – with 67% believing their company’s prospects for revenue will increase. The survey included 4,446 CEOs from 89 countries who participated between October and November of last year.

However, what many CEOs believe to be the biggest threat to economic growth will be cyber risks, while health risks, climate change and social inequality were deemed “lower-risk” in how they will affect their company.

“I believe that in the coming year we will see continued growth in the Israeli economy,” said Doron Sadan, territory senior partner of PwC Israel. “We have seen how many Israeli companies succeed in growing while recognizing the human need for technology and the potential inherent in it. Maturity is also reflected in the fact that many public companies in Israel understand the implications associated with climate issues and adopt corporate responsibility processes.

“At the same time, the positive trend in Israel cannot be detached from two important aspects. First, the state must divert resources and invest in essential infrastructures such as education, transportation and cloud infrastructure. Second, we must address the social gaps that exist in the State of Israel between the center and the periphery and integrate other sectors such as the ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors,” Sadan continued.

 Doron Sadan, Territory Senior Partner, PwC Israel. (credit: YOSSI ZELIGER) Doron Sadan, Territory Senior Partner, PwC Israel. (credit: YOSSI ZELIGER)

Strong correlations are shown between customer trust and CEO confidence, the survey found. Trust was also found to be correlated with net-zero commitments.

Furthermore, the US is considered the most important growth destination globally over the next year, according to the CEOs that partook in the survey, with China behind in second place. Meanwhile, the survey concluded that optimism is highest in India, with 94% of CEOs saying they anticipate global growth throughout this year.

However, CEO optimism did decline in other countries, with the US down 18 points to 70%, and the level of optimism among CEOs in China, Brazil and Germany also going down.

The coronavirus pandemic, in general, has put a lot of pressure on CEOs due to inflation and supply-chain disruptions.

“While the ongoing pandemic and emergence of new variants cast a shadow over the year, the high level of CEO optimism we found speaks to the strength and resilience of the global economy and the ability of CEOs to manage through uncertainty,” said Bob Moritz, PwC global chairman. We are seeing differences in confidence among countries, and there is no shortage of challenges to navigate, but it is encouraging that CEOs we spoke with on the whole feel positive about 2022.”

However, the survey also found that much progress still needs to be made in order to achieve global climate goals. Less than a third of CEOs reported that their company made any commitment to reduce emissions, and only one-third of them considered climate change to be a top concern for 2022 - noting that it should not impact revenue growth. Some 61% of CEOs cited “meeting customer expectations,” alluding that taking action to fight climate change is central to a company’s brand.