Nearly 2,000 CEOs think their companies won't be able to make money in 10 years, survey says


A large number of CEOs from around the world think their companies are in trouble.

Nearly 2,000 CEOs recently polled by accounting and consulting firm PwC say their company won't be "economically viable" within the next decade, without changing its current path. That's almost 40% of the total number of CEOs surveyed across 105 countries for PwC's annual global CEO survey

They're worried for a host of reasons. More than half of the CEOs surveyed cited shifts in consumer demand, regulatory changes and labor shortages as challenges to their profitability over the next 10 years.

Forty-nine percent worried about technologies like artificial intelligence slashing their profits, 43% said supply chain disruptions will continue to be a threat, and nearly a third worried about competitors from outside industries entering their field.

The PwC report cited "climate change, technological disruption, demographic shifts, a fracturing world and social instability" as additional "megatrends" that could reshape businesses in the coming years. 

American CEOs were the most optimistic about their long-term business models, while business leaders in Japan and China were the least optimistic. And despite the concerns, most of the company leaders surveyed — 60% — aren't planning any layoffs, at least over the next 12 months.

However, the report's prescription for worried CEOs may not bode particularly well for some workers.

In the report, the authors recommended that company leaders start making bolder choices about their company's long-term direction. They pointed to Philips, the Dutch multinational company that reinvented itself as a health technology company in the 2010s after focusing on lighting products since 1891.

Philips split into two companies to make that shift happen, shedding its lighting division off in an initial public offering in 2016. The move, while drastic, did work — pulling the company out of a significant rut at the time. (Its stock has plunged more recently, following a large device recall.)

The surveyed CEOs said they want to make such bold decisions but aren't currently prioritizing them.

The majority said that in their ideal world they'd spend 57% of their work time figuring out how to meet future demands. Instead, managing their companies' current performance takes up the bulk of their time, they said.

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