KPMG: Australian CEOs are suddenly more optimistic

Image: Chris Pash

Australian CEOs have suddenly become more confident about their companies’ growth prospects, according to a KPMG global study.

KPMG today released its 2017 Global CEO Outlook based on interviews with nearly 1300 CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies.

The report provides insights of CEOs’ expectations for business growth, the challenges they face and their strategies to chart organisational success over the next 3 years.

Most Australian CEOs expect their company to grow and a majority plan to increase headcount and recruitment investment.

More than two-thirds (70%) are confident they can get 2% to 5% top line growth over next three years. This is a big shift in mood from last year’s report which showed only 43% in Australia were confident of the same growth.

Globally, the mood is darker. Only 41% of CEOs are confident of good growth, down from 48% last year.

Two-thirds of Australian CEOs believe their company will increase headcount by up to 5% over the next 12 months, while almost a quarter said it would be between a 6% and 10% rise.

This is considerably higher than their overseas counterparts where 40% believe headcount won’t grow at all.

However, CEOs are less certain about economic growth over the next 12 months, with only 2% of Australian respondents very confident of Australian economic growth.

This was lower than the expectation of global CEOs, 30% of which were very confident of their own country’s growth.

Overseas CEOs were also more confident about the next three years of global economic growth. In total, 65% of global CEOs were confident of growth, compared to 43% of Australian CEOs.

65% of CEOs see disruptive forces as an opportunity, and not a threat.

By investing more in cognitive technologies and skilled labour, CEOs are aiming to lead the market with the development of innovative products and new ways of doing business.

Three in four (74%) say their business is aiming to be the disruptor in their sector.

“This year we see the CEO looking to be a disruptor, not the disrupted, harnessing uncertainty by challenging their own role to better lead their business to success,” says KPMG Australia CEO, Gary Wingrove.

“CEOs are focusing on core strengths, but at the same time innovation and disruption remain key priorities for the future.”

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