Confidence

Whilst the balance of opinion was still for a positive outlook for 2019, the more significant news behind PwC’s recently published CEO Survey was a marked downgrade in confidence from last year. Most popular concerns were about over-regulation and policy uncertainty; however, there was a clear difference by region in grading the top concern. Notably, the top threat of US CEOs was cyber security. Common to all was a more internal mindset and a focus on operational efficiencies to drive growth as opposed to new market entry. A skills gap around data and innovation persists, whilst staffing costs were rising more than anticipated. These are intertwined factors. Talent scarcity is made more acute through a failure to create operational leverage through technology. The significant majority of CEOs surveyed stated a belief that the coming wave of artificial intelligence would be more impactful than the arrival of the internet. Whilst it is difficult to see change happen day-to-day, think back to before the internet existed, and the difference in how we now work and live. No emails, no Google Maps (no Google), no Wikipedia, no e-commerce, no social media, no apps, no web browsing, no Futures /Cut. More impactful than that.