Canadian CEOs more optimistic than global counterparts


Canadian CEOs are more optimistic about their company’s growth over the next 12 months than are CEOs from other countries around the world, reveals a KPMG survey.

The survey looked at the disruptions – such as new technologies, economic turbulence and geopolitical instability – facing Canadian businesses to see how they are influencing the way CEOs operate and prepare their companies to handle challenges over the next three years.

"This year's outlook emphasizes that disruption has become a fact of life for Canadian CEOs and their businesses as they respond to heightened uncertainty," says Elio Luongo, chief executive officer and senior partner at KPMG in Canada. "Importantly, Canadian CEOs see disruption as an opportunity to transform their business model, develop new products and services and reshape their business so it is even more successful than it was in the past."

Seventy five per cent of Canadian CEOs say they see disruption not as a threat, but as an opportunity in their business. As well, 86% of Canadian CEOs say they are not waiting to be disrupted by competitors but are actively disrupting the sector through their own businesses. Compared with 74% of global CEOs, 98% of Canadian CEOs believe that they will be the same company they are today, even in three years.

The survey also revealed that Canadian CEOs’ top priority was business digitization, followed by getting their products or services to market more quickly. Tied for third place in the priority list was strengthening client focus, developing talent and becoming more data driven. Innovation was not among the top priorities. While 41% prioritize increased penetration in existing markets and 20% focused on vertically integrating their supply chain, only 16% prioritized innovation.

CEO confidence in the global market has also declined, but most Canadian CEOs (75%) are confident about Canada’s economic growth. Sixty three per cent of Canadian CEOs are looking to Central and South America for growth opportunities.

According to the survey, many Canadian CEOs (84%) are spending more time on scenario planning while 86% are strengthening their management teams to understand geopolitical risk.

Ninety six per cent of Canadian CEOs believe tax rates will rise, 90% believe inflation will increase, and 80% believe interest rates will go up over the next three years. Amidst these speculations, they still believe their companies will experience growth over the next 12 months.

On the cyber front, only 37% of CEOs feel prepared for a potential cyber event while 63% say they are only “somewhat prepared” for a social media hacking.

This survey includes the insights of 51 Canadian CEOs in 11 industry sectors.