U.S. chief executives are highly confident in the growth prospects of the domestic and global economies over the next three years, as they look to grow their businesses while facing unparalleled disruption and change, according to a study released today by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm.
The KPMG U.S. CEO Outlook 2019 report features results from an in-depth survey of 400 U.S. CEOs sharing their perspectives on the business landscape over the next three years. Key findings include:
- Fifty-three percent are “very confident” in the growth prospects of the domestic economy, up from 48% a year ago.
- Fifty-three percent are “very confident” in the growth prospects of the global economy, up from 11% a year ago.
- With that confidence, moderate growth is expected. Fifty percent predict top-line revenue growth in the 2-5% range with 43% predicting less than 2%.
- Forty-nine percent have a “high M&A appetite” and are likely to undertake acquisitions which will have a significant impact on their organization.
“U.S. CEOs are highly confident and laser-focused on making their organizations more resilient in the face of various risks that threaten the growth of their companies,” said KPMG U.S. Chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie. “Amid constant disruption and change, proactive leaders are executing agile, multi-faceted growth strategies that include M&A, alliances with third parties, investment in emerging markets, and accelerating innovation and collaboration within their organizations.”
- More than two-thirds (68%) said acting with agility is the new currency of business and that if they don’t adapt, their business will become irrelevant.
- CEOs said their most important strategies for achieving growth over the next three years include alliances with third parties (38%), M&A (21%), and organic growth (19%).
- Sixty-three percent said they need to improve their organization’s innovation processes and execution, up from 8% a year ago.
- Seventy-four percent see emerging markets as the priority for geographical expansion with a focus on Central and South America.
Top Risks: Threats to Growth
When asked about the risks posing the greatest threat to their organization’s growth, CEOs identified disruptive technology (23%) followed by environmental/climate change (17%) and cyber security (16%).
Investing in Talent and Technology
- When asked to prioritize between buying new technology or developing their workforce to improve their organization’s resilience, CEOs favored technology two to one (68% vs. 32%).
- Seventy percent said they are planning to up-skill 41-60% of their organization’s workforce with new digital capabilities over the next three years.
- Over the next three years, 73% said artificial intelligence and robotics technologies will create more jobs than they eliminate, up from 52% a year ago.
The KPMG U.S. CEO Outlook is part of KPMG’s 2019 Global CEO Outlook survey of 1,300 CEOs. For more information, please visit: kpmg.com/US/CEOoutlook.