The barometer, now in its third year, is based on insight from more than 800 executives from 27 countries around the world to understand the opportunities and challenges they are facing. This year’s research finds that whilst recognising the significant challenges of last year – including inflation and economic instability, high energy prices, war and geopolitical tensions – leaders have a sense of fighting spirit and optimism.
Like last year, technology and sustainability remain their top strategic priorities, with leaders investing in these areas to ensure their business is fit for tomorrow.
Other highlights of the report include:
- Optimism in the face of ongoing challenges: Despite economic instability, growing energy prices and geopolitical tensions, executives are optimistic about their company’s future growth: 86% have a positive outlook for growth in 2023.
- Trends impacting businesses in 2023: The external trends expected to have the biggest impact on businesses this year are: economic trends, including inflation and higher cost of living; energy prices and/or shortages; and the emergence of new technologies.
- Confidence responding to trends: Overall confidence is slightly below last year but up on 2020 research according to the Mazars Confidence Index. Leaders are confident managing new technologies but are a lot less assured tackling the economic environment. Economic uncertainty is considered the main factor that will hold back company growth.
- Embracing a digital world: Transforming company IT/technology is the top strategic priority for the coming three to five years. The C-suite expect the emergence of new technology to have a big impact on their business and they recognise the importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, big data and Web3. Cyber threats remain an everyday reality but leaders are confident their data is protected.
- Investing in a sustainable future: A new or revised sustainability strategy is number two on the list of C-suite strategic priorities for the coming three to five years (29%) – second only to transforming company IT/technology. Over two thirds (68%) plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives in the coming year, signifying the importance of ESG on the C-suite agenda. Most businesses (65%) produce a sustainability report, but admit data quality and tracking can be challenging, and just over a third (36%) feel totally ready for new ESG reporting requirements.
- Recognising the importance of diversity and talent: A quarter of leaders say a new or revised talent attraction and retention strategy is a strategic priority, with nearly a third (28%) identifying the inability to attract a skilled workforce as a barrier to their company’s growth. Despite acknowledging the importance of a diverse workforce, true equity remains elusive in many companies, with little progress in terms of gender diversity among top decision-makers.
As well as the survey results, a number of our in-house experts are featured in the report offering their view on the findings and what they mean for the business outlook this year. These include Claire Cizaire, our Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, and Chris Fuggle, our Global Head of Sustainability.
To learn more, download the report here.