Middle East CEOs’ Confidence Rises Sharply In 2014

Middle East CEOs are the most confident globally about short-term revenue growth in 2014.



Around 69 per cent of CEOs in the Middle East said that they are confident about short-term revenue growth in 2014, up from 53 per cent last year, a survey has found.

According to PwC’s annual global CEO survey, released during the on-going World Economic Forum, confidence among CEOs has risen sharply with the majority forecasting a positive growth outlook over the next 12 months.

Globally, around 39 per cent of CEOs said that they are ‘very confident’ of the revenue growth prospects for the next 12 months, up marginally from 36 per cent last year.

The Asia-Pacific region recorded the second-highest confidence level, with 45 per cent of CEOs being positive about short-term revenue growth. Western Europe recorded the strongest growth in confidence from eight per cent in 2013 to 30 per cent in 2014.

The majority of CEOs, around 44 per cent, said that the global economy would improve over the next 12 months, up from 18 per cent last year.

Just seven per cent of respondents predicted a decline in the global economy, a figure sharply reduced from 28 per cent in 2013.

CEOs in Western Europe were the most confident about short-term global economic prospects followed by those in the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Top executives in Central and Eastern Europe showed the least confidence among their peers.

The survey also found that CEOs in the hospitality and leisure sector were the most confident about prospects over the next 12 months while heads of the metal industry were the least confident.

Geographically, the highest level of CEO growth was found in Russia where 53 per cent of the top executives said that they feel confident. Other countries where CEOs have high levels of confidence were Mexico (51 per cent) and Korea (50 per cent).

“They’ve successfully guided their companies through recession and now more CEOs feel positive about their ability to increase their revenues and prospects for the global economy,” said Dennis M. Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International.

“However, CEOs also acknowledge that generating sustained growth in the post-crisis economy remains a challenge, especially as they deal with changing conditions like slowing growth in the emerging markets.”

Nally said that top concerns among CEOs persist with regards to over-regulation, fiscal deficits and a rise in taxation.

However, the survey also found that the number of chief executives planning mergers and acquisitions has risen while they are also more positive about hiring plans in 2014.

Almost half of the CEOs said that they expect to add staff in the next 12 months, up from 45 per cent last year.

Industries where job prospects look most positive are technology, business services and asset management, the survey said.