CEOs say they are shifting plans from survival to revival

Chief executives in Northern Ireland are shying away from making wholesale changes to the future of work, according to the KPMG survey
Gary McDonald Business Editor

AFTER steering their businesses through a year dominated by the pandemic, chief executives in Northern Ireland say they are shifting their plans from survival to revival.

Many have already taken strong action to transform their operating model and the pressure is on to keep the positive changes made during the pandemic, while mitigating the risks it has brought.

Findings in the seventh CEO Outlook produced by business advisers KPMG, which takes data from across the globe, also shows that bosses in Northern Ireland are slightly less optimistic about the growth prospects for the domestic economy than they were pre-Covid.

That have identified joint ventures, M&A, and strategic alliances as the main post-pandemic growth strategy for their own businesses.

KPMG's regional partner in charge Johnny Hanna said: “Northern Ireland is relatively well positioned to return to more normal patterns of business activity and our CEOs are actively looking at growth strategies to help them get ahead of the competition.

“But they are also acutely aware that they need to deliver on issues such as the future of work, cyber security, disruptive technology and supply chain issues if they are to achieve their growth ambitions.”

Two thirds (64 per cent) of NI CEOs are more optimistic than their RoI (48 per cent) and global counterparts (60 per cent) about the growth prospects for the global economy over the next three years.

The vast majority of local bosses are confident of the success of their own business, but they are cautious about top-line revenue growth, with 40 per cent projecting modest three-year growth of up to 2.5 per cent and just under a third (32 per cent) expecting growth between 2.5 and 5 per cent.

CEOs in Northern Ireland are also shying away from making wholesale changes to the future of work. Only 16 per cent plan to or have already down-sized their physical footprint or office space as a result of the pandemic and changing working habits – down significantly from seven in ten (72 per cent) in 2020.

Mr Hanna added: “Local CEOs recognise that the office is still the main focal point for their operations, but we are also seeing emerging evidence that some business leaders see a growing need for flexibility and the changing nature of talent acquisition and retention. They are assessing operating models to attract the best talent by expanding their reach into a wider pool.”

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