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Last edited 24 Mar 2021
PwC CEO Panel survey
According to the results of an Summer 2020 survey conducted by PwC, global CEOs believe that shifts towards remote working, automation and low-density offices are here to stay. Climate change, supply chain safety and adapting the customer experience are amongst other trends driving long term change. As a result, there is a need for business leaders and policy makers to fundamentally rethink the way they plan, invest and operate in the future.
The survey shows the majority of CEOs believe that COVID-19 pandemic driven shifts towards remote collaboration (78%), automation (76%) and fewer people working from offices (61%) are here to stay. Overall, 61% say their business model will be more digital in the future - a change accelerated by the pandemic.
Responses show digital infrastructure, flexible working and employee wellbeing will top boardroom agendas as they reconfigure business operations to secure growth in the future. 58% of CEOs say supply chain safety will remain a focus, driving technology investments to enable tracking of products from production to delivery, and to ensure their suppliers and partners are resilient during crises.
In a challenge to decades of increased globalisation, 39% of CEOs believe there will be a permanent shift towards onshoring and insourcing, and a similar share expect an enduring increase in nationalism.
CEOs are cautious about their own revenue growth prospects in the year ahead (45% somewhat confident: 15% very confident). 65% are predicting a decline in global growth.
 Future priorities
Business leaders believe the pandemic increased the importance of responding to a wider range of stakeholder issues, particularly employees. Employee support measures included health and safety (92%), wellbeing (61%) and financial support (24%). Those CEOs who maximised retention (36%) and protected employee health and safety (92%) believe it will have a positive impact on their organisation's long-term reputation.
Climate change remains an influential trend for consumers and businesses alike. When asked if the shift to climate change mitigation would endure, 47% said it would. Business leaders believe short-term increases in disposables (including sanitisers and masks) and decreases in the sharing economy would only be temporary.
While the majority of CEOs (61%) believe there will be lower workplace density than before, they remain divided about what role cities will play in the future: 34% believe the shift towards de-urbanisation will continue; 38% feel it is temporary.
 The role of government
Business leaders are not expecting extended government support, with the majority (57%) believing state intervention is temporary. 30% believe government support will be sustained, despite a gloomy outlook for global and organisational growth prospects. One in five respondents say they declined government backed support for their business during the pandemic.
The survey was conducted in June and July 2020 as an extension of PwC's Global CEO Survey. It captures the views of 699 CEOs on emerging business models and key trends resulting from COVID-19. Respondents included leaders of private businesses and public companies, of small firms and large enterprises and represent a diverse cross-section of industries, countries and territories. Respondents came from 67 countries/territories including: Western Europe (42% of respondents): North America (7%); Middle East (3%).
Find out more at: https://www.pwc.com./gx/en/ceo-agenda/ceo-panel-survey.html
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