Inside the mind of the CEO

Canadian CEOs and their global counterparts share their views on the impact of globalization and technological change on growth, talent, trust and society.

This PwC survey report provides insights and perspectives into the minds of Canadian CEOs. It reveals an optimistic outlook and raises some important questions.

Key findings

Competing in an age of divergence

Globalization has many benefits, but also many downsides. With greater convergence, there is a significant divergence in beliefs, values and systems. CEOs are concerned about uncertain economic growth, over-regulation and a shortage of skills. Yet CEOs are optimistic about growth; 38 per cent are very confident in their company’s 12-month revenue growth prospects. In Canada, 100 per cent of CEOs are confident in growth prospects over the next three years and 92 per cent of Canadian CEOs expect organic growth to drive growth and profitability.

Managing man and machine

Eighty-eight per cent of CEOs promote talent diversity and inclusiveness. Many individuals worry that globalization and technology will eliminate their jobs. In reality, CEOs now recognize the need for talent — 52 per cent plan to increase headcount, but can’t find people with the right skills. And 77 per cent of CEOs are concerned that a shortage of key skills could impair their company’s growth. Sixty-two per cent of Canadian CEOs say technology will disrupt their industry. CEOs know they can’t innovate using technology alone.

Gaining from connectivity without losing trust

CEOs are paying close attention to how human connection is affected by technology. And, as our interactions become ever more automated, data-driven, and virtual, the human factor is receding. Fully 69 per cent of CEOs are convinced that it’s harder to gain and retain people’s trust in an increasingly digitalized and connected world. Survey results show that Canadian CEOs want to strengthen their talent pools more than their global counterparts. When looking for talent, Canadian CEOs place emotional intelligence and leadership skills at the top of their wish list.

Making globalization work for all

While nearly two thirds of CEOs agree that globalization has benefited connectivity, trade and capital mobility, 44 per cent say it has not helped at all in closing the gap between rich and poor. This year, the world has been forced to consider how globalization can work for all. Here businesses have a significant role to play.