Business

Global CEOs more confident about economy

Bosses across the world are more confident than ever about the global economy, although they admit that there are many risks as well.

That is the result from a survey of around 1,300 chief executives that has been released during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

It found that 57 per cent believe global growth will improve in the next 12 months.

That is well up on the 29 per cent in last year's poll and the biggest year-on-year rise since the survey began asking this question in 2012.

The feel-good mood is evident here as well, according to accounting firm PwC, which conducted the annual poll between August and November last year.

"In Singapore, we are also seeing more positive business sentiment," said PwC Singapore executive chairman Yeoh Oon Jin. "However, with the increasingly complex landscape, business leaders will need to find a way to leverage the upturn in the global economy and expand internationally."

The optimism in the economy is lifting spirits among CEOs about their own firms' prospects.

The poll noted that 42 per cent of bosses across the world say they are "very confident" about growth over the next 12 months, up from 38 per cent last year.

Confidence in key markets is most buoyant in the technology, business services, and pharmaceutical and life science sectors.

This is likely to lead to more jobs, with 54 per cent of CEOs expecting to increase headcount this year while 18 per cent anticipate cutting staff.

Sectors with the highest demand for staff include healthcare, technology, business services, communications, and hospitality and leisure.

But there are dark clouds: 28 per cent of CEOs, including some here, are extremely concerned about the availability of workers with digital skills.

rachmui@sph.com.sg

BUSINESS & FINANCE