More than half of Middle Eastern CEOs plan to hire in 2017

PwC’s CEO survey found regional respondents were more confident in their growth prospects



More than half of Middle Eastern CEOs expect to increase their headcount over the next year, according to a new report.

Professional services firm PwC’s survey of 50 regional CEOs, found that confidence was rising with 38 per cent of respondents very confident about their prospects compared to 34 per cent in 2016.

This translated into recruitment plans, with 56 per cent of regional respondents planning to increase headcount.

The company said 60 per cent of CEOs were also very confident in their growth prospects over the next three years.

On a global level the same share of CEOs (38 per cent) were very confident about their company’s growth prospects over the next year compared to 35 per cent the year before, while 29 per cent believed economic growth would pick up in 2017 compared to 27 per cent in 2016.

“Despite uncertain times, Middle East businesses are as ambitious as ever; they have proved resilient in times of change and our survey shows that though treading with caution, they are certainly confident about the direction their businesses will take in the years to come,” said Hani Ashkar, PwC Middle East senior partner.

Around three quarters of business CEOs from the region (74 per cent) were found to prioritise organic growth in the coming year compared to 79 per cent globally.

But they were more likely (54 per cent) to seek strategic partnerships than the global average (48 per cent) and more likely to plan cost reduction activities (68 per cent vs 62 per cent).

They were also the least likely to explore collaboration with entrepreneurs (22 per cent) and most likely to exit a business or market (30 per cent) against an average of 15 per cent.

Strategic priorities for CEOs in the region included digital (22 per cent), followed by innovation (14 per cent), human capital (12 per cent) and funding for growth (10 per cent).

While 30 per cent believed technology had reshaped competition over the last five years, the highest of any region.

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