Global concerns, but regional CEOs still upbeat on growth: Poll

Chief executives here and across the region are upbeat about growth prospects over the next three years, according to a new survey by KPMG. But a significant share of head honchos surveyed also said they are reassessing their company's global footprint in the light of rising protectionism around the world.

KPMG's 2017 Global CEO Outlook surveyed close to 1,300 chief executives in 10 economies.

Of those polled, 83 per cent said they were confident of their company's growth prospects over the next three years. Respondents in Singapore and Asean were even more confident at 96 and 98 per cent respectively.

Globally, 74 per cent of CEOs said their business is aiming to be a disruptor in their sector. This share was 77 per cent among respondents from Singapore and 83 per cent in Asean. Compared with the global average, a larger proportion of Asean CEOs also said they intend to invest in new technologies and connect to customers digitally.

"Comparing our results across Asean with the rest of the world, we see a greater confidence among Asean business leaders that should translate into an economically positive year for the region," said Mr Ong Pang Thye, managing partner at KPMG in Singapore.

Chief executives are also increasingly concerned over geopolitical risks, the KPMG poll showed.

Among those surveyed, 43 per cent said they are reassessing their global footprint due to the changing pace of globalisation and protectionism. This share was 42 per cent among Singapore CEOs and 56 per cent across Asean.

  • 83% Percentage of close to 1,300 chief executives in 10 economies who are confident of their company's growth prospects over the next three years.

    96% Percentage of such respondents in Singapore.

Meanwhile, 52 per cent of all CEOs polled believe the impact of the political landscape on their organisation is at its highest in many years.

Sixty-two per cent of Singapore CEOs surveyed and 65 per cent of Asean CEOs agreed.

Bosses also expect headcounts to continue growing but at a slower pace compared with last year.

Last year, 73 per cent of CEOs expected employee numbers to rise by more than 6 per cent over the next three years. This dropped to 47 per cent globally in the latest survey.

About a third of Singapore and Asean CEOs are expecting similar growth over the coming three years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Global concerns, but regional CEOs still upbeat on growth: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe