Middle Eastern CEOs are less confident about growth than they were last year but are still more positive than their global counterparts.
A survey by worldwide accountancy firm PwC found that 53 per cent of CEOs in the region ‘are very confident about prospects for business and economic growth over the next 12 months’.
Although this is less than the 60 per cent of Middle East CEOs who responded positively to the same topic 12 months ago, it is still greater than the second highest response of 36 per cent from elsewhere in the world.
“The high confidence percentage of Middle East CEOs led to a positive outlook for the economy,” said Hani Ashkar, Middle East deals leader at PwC.
“Compared to their global counterparts, Middle East CEOs are expecting a major employment headcount increase with over two thirds expecting a 5 per cent or more rise.”
The study found that 44 per cent of Middle East CEOs view domestic growth as a primary driver in 2013 while 25 per cent view growth coming stemming from new operations in outside markets.
Three-quarters of Middle East CEOs intend to boost headcount in the coming year while six per cent will be cutting jobs – almost a quarter compared to the global figure of 23 per cent.
Mergers and acquisitions are viewed as one of the top investment priorities for 38 per cent of Middle East CEOs, with a huge 73 per cent of M&As targeted within the region.
The study of 1,330 CEOs from 68 countries was taken in conjunction with the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa 2013.