Report Calls for a New Contract Between Business and the State

Business in every region of the world has now faced several years of disruption marked by sustained uncertainty that has required them to become ever more resilient in order to succeed, highlights the PwC Annual Global CEO Survey.


Uncertainty over economic growth continues to be the main concern of CEOs; 81% said they had some level of concern regarding economic conditions. Other high ranking economic threats included fiscal deficits and debt burdens, and over-regulation.


Potential increases in tax burdens, availability of key skills, and rising energy and raw material costs were the top three business threats identified.


"The message for Governments and public sector organisations is clear: they must help deal with uncertainty, build resilience and engage with business," says Jan Sturesson, PwC's Global Leader, Government and Public Services. "It's time for a new contract between business and the state, with a shift in the mindset of public sector and business leaders from co-existence to mutual collaboration."


The survey reveals that business is facing a world of volatility and uncertainty, impacting both short and long term confidence. Over half (52%) of CEOs in this year's survey believe that the global economy has reached a plateau, and there has also been a further drop in short-term confidence.


Business is particularly worried by a combination of economic and policy threats and business threats. Uncertain and volatile economic growth and fiscal deficits/debt are top worries for the CEOs surveyed in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.


Private sector CEOs are focusing on three actions to cope with uncertainty and create more resilient organisations: targeting pockets of opportunity, concentrating on the customer, and improving operational effectiveness.


"The pressures of less money and an environment of uncertainty and volatility also point to a need for greater resilience in the public sector," says Scott McIntyre, Global Government & Public Services Co-Leader. "We believe many of the actions revealed by the CEO Survey are equally relevant to public sector leaders and could enable them to build more operational flexibility and connectedness within and outside their organisations."