Although leaders around the world have regained confidence, the latest PWC survey shows that pandemic, cyber threats and the climate crisis remain major concerns.
CEOs are more concerned this year about threats such as cybercrime, economic uncertainty and the climate crisis.
This was revealed in the 2021 PWC CEO Survey, which includes more than 5,000 CEOs from around the world, including 153 from Ireland. The survey found that the level of concern about most threats to businesses has increased compared to last year.
While the Kovid-19 pandemic is the biggest concern, 90% of Irish business leaders are also concerned about cyber threats, which rose to 78% last year. In addition, the concerns of Irish CEOs about misinformation have doubled.
The increase in concern about these threats coincides with the fact that many companies have turned to online and remote operations over the past year, which is expected to continue until 2021. Despite these concerns, only 27% of respondents intend to double-digit investments in cybersecurity and data privacy over the next three years.
In fact, a PWC CIO survey last July indicated reluctance to invest in the sector, suggesting that IT investment would fall by more than 20 per cent in the coming years.
Another major concern is climate change and environmental damage, which reached a record high of 56 percent in 2019. However, 70 percent of people do not take climate emergency into account in their strategic risk management.
Ciaran Kelly, consulting head at PWC Ireland, said more needs to be done to address some of these challenges. “Keeping pace with global peers requires even greater investment in key areas such as risk management, cyber security and digital,” he said.
“In order to achieve the necessary changes, CEOs need to think outside the box and constantly evaluate their decisions and actions against broader social implications. In doing so, they will build trust and produce lasting results for shareholders, the community and our environment. “
Despite these concerns, the survey found that confidence has risen again, with 76% of global CEOs feeling confident about economic growth.
The Irish CEO is also confident that 49 per cent of Irish respondents are positive about the country’s economic outlook. Last year, it rose to a record low of 16 percent.
In addition, 58% of Irish leaders plan to increase their workforce this year, up from 39% last year. However, for the eighth year in a row, the survey indicates that Irish CEOs are more concerned about skill shortages than their global competitors.
PWC Ireland’s managing partner Fiergel O’Rourke said it was not surprising that Irish CEOs were not as confident as their global rivals given the complexities that come with Brexit.
Irish CEOs, who have gone through one of the most turbulent periods in history, focus on growth and performance. They understand that this growth cannot take place without the right people with the right skills, ”he said.
In this rapidly changing external environment, how their business adapts and achieves sustainable results will be an important consideration. Organizations that do this will be in the best position to emerge from the pandemic as strong, vibrant and productive businesses that can withstand the impacts of the future. “