Digital investments give CEOs a bullish outlook

From the C-Suite newsletter: KPMG data also shows a seismic shift in how many companies plan to downsize.

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Canadian CEOs are a confident bunch, at least according to the latest KPMG insights.

The firm’s Global CEO Outlook report reveals that 89% of Canadian CEOs have a positive outlook on their economic prospects over the next three years, eclipsing their peers in the U.S., China, the U.K and Germany, and surpassing pre-pandemic levels by a full 10 points.

What’s more, 40% of Canadian CEOs predict earnings growth over this time of between 2.5% and 4.99% annually, compared with 48% of global leaders who are expecting less than 2.5% per annum growth.

Canadian CEOs, the report notes, are much less likely to see technological disruption as a threat compared to their peers. According to the study, 91% of Canadian chief execs, versus 76% of respondents globally, see technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat. Also, compared with global counterparts, Canadian CEOs report they are actively disrupting their industry, rather than waiting for it to be disrupted – 86% versus 72% globally.

KPMG insights also reveal that 68% of Canadian CEOs are investing more of their capital in buying new technology, versus 60% globally, and more Canadian CEOs feel achieving growth means their top priority is digitizing and connecting their enterprise (31% versus 26% of their peers around the world).

According to Elio Luongo, CEO and senior partner at KPMG in Canada, Canadian CEOs are “confident that the investments they’ve made to ramp up their digital capabilities and prowess positions them for strong future growth.”

The KPMG data also reveals changing sentiments about the future of employment: only 20% of Canadian CEOs now say they are planning to downsize their organization’s physical footprint – or have already – a seismic shift from the pandemic’s first wave, when 60% intended to do so.

In KPMG’s March return to work survey of 2,000 employees, 71% of respondents said a hybrid workplace or office “should be the standard model for all organizations.”

Finally, compared with their counterparts, the report reveals that Canadian leaders are also more prepared to shoulder the responsibility of reskilling their employees or placing them in new roles if layoffs were in the works: 85% versus 57% globally.

The survey, conducted between June 29 and Aug. 6 of this year, includes perspectives from 1,325 international CEOs spanning 11 countries, including 75 from Canada. In Canada, 45% of study participants head organizations with over $10 billion in annual revenue and represent 11 key industry sectors: asset management, automotive, banking, consumer and retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology and telecommunications.