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Indian CEOs believe economic growth will improve over next 12 months: Survey

In all, 99% of CEOs in India believe India’s economic growth will improve over the next 12 months, with 94% being optimistic about global economic growth improving over the next 12 months, as against 77% of global CEOs. Photo: iStockphotoPremium
In all, 99% of CEOs in India believe India’s economic growth will improve over the next 12 months, with 94% being optimistic about global economic growth improving over the next 12 months, as against 77% of global CEOs. Photo: iStockphoto

  • The CEOs also remain bullish on revenue prospects of their own companies, with a vast majority of 98% of them confident about growth over the next 12 months.

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New Delhi: Several headwinds, mostly triggered by the covid-19 pandemic, notwithstanding, chief executive officers in India are significantly optimistic about the prospects of a stronger economy in the coming year.

As per the findings of PwC’s 25th annual global CEO survey, 99% of chief executives in India believe India’s economic growth will improve over the next 12 months, with 94% being optimistic about global economic growth improving over the next 12 months, as against 77% of global CEOs.

The survey polled 4,446 CEOs in 89 countries and territories between October and November, including 77 Indian chief executives.

The CEOs also remain bullish on revenue prospects of their own companies, with a vast majority of 98% of them confident about growth over the next 12 months.

The survey also found that while for the most part, CEOs globally are at least as optimistic as they were last year about the prospects for economic growth in 2022, the optimism of India CEOs – up from 88% last year – stands out at 94%.

“While Omicron has cast a shadow and CEOs are focused on the health and safety of their employees at the moment, CEO confidence and optimism over the past one year is testimony to the resilience of Indian companies. Perhaps owing to the futuristic groundwork done during the difficult times, 97% of India CEOs are confident about their own company’s prospects for revenue growth not only in the near term but also over the next three years," Sanjeev Krishan, chairman, PwC in India said.

While there is optimism, concerns about some clear threats for India’s CEOs continue to remain. Last year, 70% of India CEOs viewed the pandemic as a top threat to growth, while 62% considered cyber threats as an impediment to growth. This year 15% of CEOs in India are apprehensive about cyber risks hindering their company’s ability to raise capital. India CEOs also agree that cyber risks could cause severe revenue disruptions, with 64% of respondents fearing a breach could hinder sales of products or services.

Besides business disruptions, 47% of chief executives believe cyber threats could impede their ability to develop products and services.

About 89% of Indian CEOs are concerned about health risks, 9% higher than their global counterparts. This is perhaps an indication that business leaders would like to exercise caution when it comes to making early investment and business decisions, despite vaccination drives worldwide, the survey said.

Adding to the continued challenge of the mutating covid-19 virus is the rising geopolitical conflict which has led to global disruptions in commerce. Sanjeev added: “After a challenging year, business leaders are under pressure to deliver top-line results. It will require them to take proactive steps to mitigate current and future risks –be they around technology, cyber security, talent or health. Focusing on long-term challenges and issues around climate change and social inequality also becomes extremely crucial given the highly uncertain, volatile environment we are in and will define what sort of world we live in and hand down to the next generation."

Despite rising interest in ESG, strategy is still primarily driven by business metrics, both globally and in India. Most CEOs have goals related to nonfinancial outcomes such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and automation or digitisation included in their long-term strategy. Less well-represented, in strategies and compensation, are targets related to workforce gender representation and climate mitigation and adaptation.

About 81% and 75% of India CEOs, as against 71% and 62% of global CEOs, include customer satisfaction and employee engagement metrics respectively in their company’s long-term corporate strategy. Also, 78% of India CEOs, as against 54% of global CEOs, include automation and digitisation goals in their company’s long-term corporate strategy.

17% and 14% of India CEOs, as against 11% and 13% of global CEOs, factor in gender representation and greenhouse gas emissions respectively in their company’s annual bonus or long-term incentive plans, the survey noted.

Of the Indian companies that participated in the survey, 27% already have a net-zero commitment (22% globally) in place, 40% are in the process of developing and articulating their commitments (29% globally), and only 30% have neither made nor are in the process of making any net-zero commitment (globally 44%).

At the sector level, energy, utilities and resources are the most represented ones among those that have made net-zero commitments. This reinforces the fact that high-emitting (and hard-to-abate) industries are often front and centre when it comes to climate action, placing them in the complex but critical role of problem-contributor and problem-solver.

“We have seen business leaders navigate the tide of uncertainty and lead the way to drive not only economic growth but also societal change, through the past 25 years of our Global CEO Survey. The role of business leaders as change makers will increasingly come to the fore, and leaders must ensure that their efforts create lasting value while also building trust with the communities and stakeholders they serve. Effective collaboration between all stakeholders – organisations, individuals and governments – can meaningfully enhance not only their own prospects but also the prosperity and vitality of society as a whole,"  Krishan concluded.

 

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