There has been a change of scenery for CEOs of companies operating in Cyprus, since according to the findings of PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, they appear less optimistic on the prospects of global economic growth compared to last year.
In the context of the global survey of 1,378 CEOs in 90 countries, PwC Cyprus carried out the local survey for the 8th consecutive year, ensuring the participation of 91 CEOs.
According to the findings, there is an increase in the number of CEOs who believe that global economic growth will decline in the next 12 months, with 20% compared to 6% in 2018. At the same time, 40% of CEOs said that they are optimistic that global economic growth will improve in the coming period, down from 52% in 2018.
The overall reduced optimism for the global economy, however, does not seem to affect CEO confidence in their own companies’ prospects over the next 12 months.
Specifically, 83% of CEOs in Cyprus, are confident regarding their company’s prospects for growth and profitability. This percentage may be slightly lower compared to 2018 (85%) but nevertheless demonstrates optimism about the future of business.
Another significant finding of this year’s survey is the fact that business leaders’ predictions have proven to be quite accurate. In particular, there appears to be a correlation between the changes in CEOs confidence in their own company’s prospects for the next year with actual economic growth, as measured by GDP.
At the same time, according to the survey the main concerns of CEOs in Cyprus are geopolitical uncertainty (36%), the future of the Eurozone (31%) and uncertain economic growth (29%). Among the top business threats that CEOs face in our country are cyber threats (35%), the speed of technological change (32%) and volatile energy costs with 25%.
Technology is once again playing a leading role, leaving its own distinct mark. The survey highlights the importance of data for decision-making on the long-term success and durability of businesses. However, gaps in the adequacy of the data available to CEOs are identified, mainly due to their lack of shared use and also the lack of talent with analytical skills. In addition, business leaders appreciate that Artificial Intelligence will significantly change the way they conduct their business in the next 5 years. However, few companies seem to have acted in this area with only 16% declaring that they have taken initiatives for the use of artificial intelligence systems.
The results of the survey were presented by Philippos Soseilos, Advisory Partner at PwC Cyprus at a special event held on Tuesday. PwC Cyprus CEO, Mr Evgenios Evgeniou, CEO of CYTA, Andreas Neocleous, CEO of Tototheo Maritime, Despina Panayiotou-Theodosiou and CEO of C.A. Papaellinas Group Christos Papaellinas, participated in the discussion that followed.
Commenting on the results of the local survey, Evgeniou said: “The areas of focus for CEOs in Cyprus are the gap in the availability and analysis of data, the lack of the necessary technology skills, the need for setting businesses on a digital transformation path and leveraging Artificial Intelligence whilst staying cyber secure. Challenges bring opportunities and they are a call for action. In this context, PwC’s survey is a rich source of information and a useful tool for planning and decision-making to achieve business growth”.
The survey’s results are available on www.pwc.com.cy/ceosurvey.