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Canadian CEOs More Optimistic Than Global Peers: Survey

By Omid Ghoreishi
Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 29, 2013 Last Updated: January 30, 2013
Related articles: Canada » National
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Canadian CEOs hold a more positive outlook of their company’s prospects and the economy compared to their global counterparts, according to a new survey.

Interviewing over 1,300 CEOs in 68 countries, including 120 in Canada, the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found in its annual survey that 60 percent of Canadian CEOs say they are very confident about their company’s performance over the next three years, compared to 46 percent of CEOs globally. 

Moreover, almost half (49 percent) of Canadian CEOs expect the economy to stay the same in 2013, while more than a quarter (26 percent) expect to see improvements. 

This marks a significant contrast compared to the findings in last year’s survey, where close to half of the respondents (48 percent) expected things to get worse in 2012, and only 15 percent predicted an improvement. 

“Canada is a global leader when it comes to stability in our financial sector and Canadian CEOs are responding with greater confidence about their company’s prospects,” PwC Canada CEO Bill McFarland said in a press release.

Increased ‘tendency to flatten hierarchy’

Canadian CEOs are also more likely to delegate strategic decision-making, with half saying they encourage their staff to get involved in making important decisions, compared to 31 percent globally. 

(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

(PricewaterhouseCoopers)

“We are seeing an increasing tendency to flatten the hierarchy that exists in many organizations as more CEOs delegate decision-making and empower people. Nine out of ten CEOs in our survey said this was an effective way to develop their people as part of succession planning,” McFarland said. 

However, compared to their global peers, Canadian CEOs tend to provide less global mobility and international experience opportunities for their staff. The global average for focus on mobility opportunities among CEOs is 61 percent, but the figure is 39 percent among Canadian CEOs. 

“This could be a risk, as the global economy changes rapidly and there is an increasing need for Canadian business to penetrate new markets, understand the global marketplace, and be a significant player on the world stage,” McFarland said.

Skills Shortage Main Concern

Globally, the greatest business threat for growth prospects was cited as increasing tax burden. In Canada, however, the greatest hindrance was identified as finding people with key skills, the speed of technological change, and the ability to finance growth. 

More than three quarters (76 percent) of Canadian CEOs plan to increase investment in developing a skilled workforce, while more than half (52 percent) say they will increase their headcount in 2013. 

A majority (72 percent) of Canadian CEOs also say that creating and supporting a skilled workforce should be the government’s top priority.

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