Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s C-suite executives believe the country will be economically stronger in the coming year. Nearly 99% of CEOs in India believe the country’s economic growth will improve over the next 12 months, with 94% of them being optimistic about global economic growth improving over the same period, as against 77% of global CEOs. Besides, 98% of the executives believe revenue prospects of their own companies will grow in the same period.
The findings are part of PwC’s 25th Annual Global CEO Survey, which polled 4,446 CEOs in 89 countries and territories between October and November 2021.The India highlights include insights from 77 CEOs from the country.
Sanjeev Krishan, chairman of PwC in India, said, “While Omicron has cast a shadow and CEOs are focused on the health and safety of their employees at the moment, CEO confidence and optimism over the past one year is testimony to the resilience of Indian companies. The vigour with which most Indian business leaders took the challenges brought in by the pandemic head on, coupled with the will to emerge stronger in the face of adversity, has led to sustained growth for businesses in India.”
While there is optimism, there are also concerns about certain clear threats. As many as 89% of the country’s CEOs are concerned about health risks — 9% higher than their global counterparts. This is perhaps an indication that business leaders would like to exercise caution when it comes to making early investment and business decisions, despite vaccination drives worldwide. Concern over the ability to attract and retain talent, at 61%, is also strongly linked in CEOs’ minds with health risks.
Besides, 15% of CEOs in India are apprehensive about cyber risks hindering their company’s ability to raise capital. India CEOs also agree that cyber risks could cause severe revenue disruptions.
Long-term strategy, despite the rising interest in ESG, is still primarily driven by business metrics, both globally and in India.
The survey highlighted that 27% of the participating companies already have a net-zero commitment (22% globally) in place, 40% are in the process of developing and articulating their commitments (29% globally), and 30% have neither made nor are in the process of making any net-zero commitment (globally 44%).
As for priorities for CEOs going forward, Krishan said the role of business leaders as change-makers will increasingly come to the fore. “Leaders must ensure that their efforts create lasting value while also building trust with the communities and stakeholders they serve. Effective collaboration between all stakeholders – organisations, individuals and governments – can meaningfully enhance not only their own prospects but also the prosperity and vitality of society as a whole.”