PwC surveys CEOs on governments, risk and uncertainty

PwC surveys CEOs on governments, risk and uncertainty

More risk-taking and more discussion between the business and public sector are what's needed, top business leaders say in one of the key outtakes from this year’s PwCGovernment and the 16th Annual Global CEO Survey.

The report sets out what business needs from the public sector and identifies four key areas where governments and local councils should work together: dealing with deficits, improving skills and employability, developing infrastructure and adopting a smarter approach to regulation.

PwC partner Phil Royal says: “Businesses have now faced several years of disruption marked by sustained uncertainty that has required them to become ever more resilient to succeed.

“We’re calling for a greater mutual collaboration between New Zealand’s public and business leaders."

He said the success of the business and private sector is inextricably linked and public sector leaders can help by setting the tone for the dialogue and by taking personal responsibility to make things happen, both within their organisations and with their external stakeholders.

“New Zealand’s leaders have an important role to play in reducing complexity and helping their organisations become more agile and in creating an environment for meaningful change that has an eye on long-term outcomes. Global CEOs say uncertainty over economic growth continues to be their main concern. The global trend of fiscal deficits, debt burdens, taxes, energy costs and over-regulation is also relevant to New Zealand."

The  report draws on the quantitative responses of 1,330 worldwide business leaders and the qualitative views of 42 government and city council organisations, including representatives from the New Zealand Department of Corrections, the State Services Commission, Inland Revenue and Auckland Council.

CEOs were most concerned about higher taxes and talent shortages, economic and policy regulations, and disruptions from either natural catastrophes or social unrest.

Nearly half are confident of expanding over the next three years but say uncertainty is the new norm.

"If you don't evolve and change, you go backwards. It's pure physics," said Larry Fink, chief executive of asset management firm Blackrock Inc.

And GroupM Entertainment Global chief executive Peter Tortorici had this to say: "When people ask me, 'What's going to happen in the next five years?' I throw my hands up and say 'I have no idea, and neither do you'. How do you cope with that degree of uncertainty? Well, I think first by having the right attitude about the process of change and reinvention."