World business leaders upbeat on growth prospects

MANAMA: Leaders of the world’s largest businesses are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for their own business and their confidence in the global economy has returned to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic, despite the Delta variant slowing down the ‘return to normal’.

The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook, which asked more than 1,300 global CEOs about their strategies and outlook over a three-year horizon, finds that 60 per cent of leaders are confident about the global economy’s growth prospects (up from 42pc in the January/February pulse survey).

The prospect of a stronger global economy is leading CEOs to invest in expansion and business transformation, with 69pc of senior executives identifying inorganic methods like joint ventures, M&A and strategic alliances as their organisation’s main strategy for growth.

A majority (87pc) of global leaders stated that they are looking to make acquisitions in the next 3 years to help grow and transform their businesses.

The survey found that 30pc of CEOs plan to invest more than 10pc of their revenues toward sustainability measures and programs over the next three years.

Just 21pc of CEOs now say they are planning to downsize, or have already downsized, their organisation’s physical footprint, a dramatic shift from August 2020, with the first wave of the pandemic at its peak, 69pc of global leaders said that they planned to downsize their space.

The chief executives are focused instead on providing increased flexibility for their workforce with 51pc (up from 14pc in the January/February pulse survey) looking to invest in shared office spaces. Furthermore, 37pc of global executives have implemented a hybrid model of working for their staff, where most employees work remotely 2–3 days a week.

KPMG in Bahrain managing partner Jamal Fakhro said: “The past year and a half has been challenging for companies in Bahrain and across the global markets. Despite the challenges, CEOs remain optimistic and confident about the economic recovery. According to the survey, business leaders are actively pursuing the growth of their operations, and are re-strategizing their go-to market approach. This is a testament to the ‘back- to-business’ planning. However, supply chain, cyber security, evolving customer behaviours and climate change/ ESG risks have all been shortlisted by global CEOs as some of the leading threats to growth within the marketplace.”




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