Three-quarters of senior executives in North America, Europe and Asia believe their companies and industries will grow in 2006, according to the results of an online survey released last week by Accenture.
The annual survey, which identifies the business outlook and major concerns of more than 900 "C-suite" executives in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Canada and China, also found that nearly four-fifths (78 per cent) of companies will be hiring in the next six months either to fill crucial positions as they are vacated or to actively recruit new employees. In addition, nearly half (46 per cent) of the companies expect to increase spending this year.
From a geographic perspective, executives in China are the most optimistic about economic growth. In fact, nearly every Chinese respondent (98 per cent) predicted growth for his or her industry this year.
"The perception among C-suite executives that the global economy is getting stronger should be a hopeful indicator for global business," said Mark Foster, chief executive of Accenture's Products operating group. "As optimism for the global economic climate improves, top executives are more apt to focus on improving their own businesses by spending for programmes that might have been curtailed or postponed and by hiring new employees to carry out their growth plans."
Executives in financial services most optimistic
From an industry perspective, respondents in the financial services industry were the most optimistic about their industry's growth, with 86 per cent of these respondents saying they expect their industry to grow this year. Respondents in government were the least optimistic, with only 57 per cent of these respondents expecting growth this year.
Chief operating officers and HR directors are the most optimistic about the growth of their organizations than are other senior executives with nearly 80 per cent predicting business growth in 2006.
The survey also asked respondents to identify what they believe to be the top ten threats to their company's success in 2006.
The top three perceived threats were:
- Competitors: 72 per cent
- Health of the global economy: 67 per cent
- Inability to attract and retain the best talent: 67 per cent
The three areas of least concern were:
- Compliance with government regulations with 38 per cent of responders identifying it as threat
- Inability to focus on core competencies: 37 per cent
- Instability of senior leadership (35 per cent).
39 per cent of responders identified terrorism as threat, raking it sixth.