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Economic optimism doubles but tech, climate pressures accelerate: PwC CEO survey

Economic optimism doubles but tech, climate pressures accelerate: PwC CEO survey
Davos, The proportion of CEOs who believe global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months has more than doubled since last year, the annual PwC Global CEO Survey showed on Monday. The survey, released on the first day of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting here, also showed that almost half of CEOs do not believe their businesses will be viable in a decade amid acceleration of technology and climate pressures.

The survey, which interviewed over 4,700 CEOs across 105 countries and territories, found that 38 per cent of CEOs are optimistic about global economic growth prospects in the next one year, up from 18 per cent in 2023.

CEOs' expectations of economic decline have also tumbled from a record high of 73 per cent in the 2023 survey to 45 per cent.

Despite ongoing conflicts, the proportion of CEOs who felt their company is highly or extremely exposed to geopolitical conflict risk fell 7 percentage points to 18 per cent.

CEOs in most regions of the world were found to be more likely to be optimistic about domestic economic prospects than pessimistic, but North America and Western Europe bucked the trend.

CEOs overwhelmingly see generative AI as a catalyst for reinvention that will power efficiency, innovation and transformational change, the survey said.

At the same time, a great majority of CEOs said they will require workforce upskilling to reap the transformative benefits of generative AI.

"This year's data suggests a high degree of CEO uncertainty ahead, but CEOs are taking action. They are transforming their business models, investing in technology and their people and managing the risks and opportunities presented by the climate transition," PwC Global Chair Bob Moritz said.

If businesses are to thrive over the short and long term, build trust, and deliver sustained and long-term value, they must accelerate the pace of reinvention, he said while releasing the survey results.

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