CEOs Optimistic On ME Growth

PwC’s annual survey shows Middle Eastern businesses have continued confidence in the region.

Business confidence in the Middle East has grown over the past year and CEOs are optimistic on delivering growth for the next 12 months, despite the lingering after-effects of the Arab Spring and a potentially worsening Eurozone debt crisis.

Results from PwC’s Annual Global CEO survey show that 60 per cent of CEOs in the region are confident of their revenue growth for 2012 compared to 56 per cent last year, and just 40 per cent globally.

Despite the instability of global economies, on-going civil unrest in the Middle East and an impending Eurozone crisis, local executives are comfortable with the regional economy and two thirds of global businesses are looking to expand their operations in the region.

The survey – which interviewed over 1,000 CEOs from around the world – found two main factors as key to driving growth: emerging markets and mobilising talent.

“Leaders of both public and private sectors realise there is more to accomplish. Competing globally in more diverse sectors in more diverse markets will require more leadership and more innovation,” said Warwick Hunt, Middle East managing partner for PwC.

“Above all else, it will mean developing the right talent to strengthen their organisations’ capabilities.”

CEOs based in the Middle East also expressed a focus on expansion outside of the region as being of key importance to their company’s future, with Turkey, India and Africa being the popular areas of interest.

Fouad Alaeddin, head of markets, PwC, said: “The Middle East remains a key battleground in the global war for talent. However, Middle Eastern companies have particular approaches, and unique local context to competing in that battle.

“Well-run businesses see opportunity. They’ve embraced local workers and invested in training programmes. These efforts could pay-off by giving them access to the Middle East’s youth bulge, which is now beginning to enter the workforce.”

Talent was also cited as being of vital importance to business leaders with 63 per cent in the Middle East seeing talent constraints as a potential risk to their growth.

Forty three per cent of companies in the region expect to grow their headcount by more than five per cent in 2012, compared with 28 per cent globally.