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Indian CEOs More Confident About Growth Than Global Counterparts: PwC Survey

CEOs in India see more growth opportunities for their companies today than they did three years ago. CEOs see speed of technological change as a top new threat

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CEOs in India continue to be more confident about their company's growth than their global peers. According to PwC's 19th Annual Global CEO Survey (India report), 64 per cent of the respondents are very confident of their growth prospects in the next 12 months as compared to 35 per cent globally.

This puts India in the fifth place, one rank up from last year, in the CEOs’ ranking of global markets.

“The confidence reposed by Indian CEOs on growth is quite encouraging, given the backdrop of market and currency volatility, and the transformation in the expectations of consumers, investors and employees. While the world economy is experiencing uncertainty, CEOs in India are adapting to the situation and making use of technology to better understand and engage with stakeholders, though they do acknowledge the dynamic nature of technology as a new threat," said Deepak Kapoor, Chairman, PwC India in a statement.

“They are also steering their way through apparent paradoxes — they expect to grow their headcount next year even as they propose to increase automation. Further, talent strategies are focused on leadership pipelines, as workplaces become more diverse,” he added.

The study reveals that while CEOs in India currently see more growth opportunities than they did three years ago, the number of respondents holding this view dipped from 84 per cent last year to 75 per cent this year. It further says that the average perception of opportunities and threats is similar across all BRICS nations but the opportunity-threat gap has narrowed for India and China.

PwC says that this is perhaps reflective of a creeping sense of realism in the context of the slowdown in China, continued uncertainty and volatility around the globe, as well as the inadequate pickup in demand closer to home in India.

In terms of threats, globally as well as in India, CEOs rank the speed of technological change as the biggest threat with 79 per cent expressing concern about the influence this could potentially have on their organization’s growth.

Other concerns among CEOs unveiled by the survey include the problem of basic infrastructure and a skilled workforce and exchange volatility, something 80 per cent of CEOs in India claimed to be concerned about.

Also, CEOs in India are forecasting a transformation in stakeholder expectations and claim to be widely using technology to understand and engage with them. Almost 92 per cent of the respondents in India reported that they are making changes to the way they use technology to assess and deliver on wider stakeholder expectations. Data and analytics lead the way, with 78 per cent of the CEOs in India reporting their belief in its importance in generating stakeholder engagement. Customer relationship management systems come next, followed by research and development and innovation.

When it comes to crises, the survey claims that 68 per cent of the CEOs in India think that their lack of readiness to respond to a crisis can thwart their organization’s growth prospects. This concern finds further support in the data as 69 per cent think that their business should be doing more to measure the impact and value of the key risks they face, which is the starting point in the process of responding to and managing risks.

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