This year, our 20th CEO survey highlights areas of growth, talent, trust, and globalisation within the communications industry. We surveyed 43 CEOs in 28 countries who, for the most part, are relatively optimistic for their organisations as well as the industry’s future.
Be sure to view our highlight video with Alex Arena, group managing director at HKT Ltd. We appreciate his insights and reflections on this year’s study.
93% of communications CEOs are somewhat or very confident they will see revenue growth in the next twelve months – slightly higher than all industry CEOs (85%) and even higher than the technology industry (87%). Notably, however, the subset of communications CEOs that are very confident (56%) is one of the highest of all industries surveyed – and 18% higher than the global average.
Looking at long-term potential, 56% are very confident in their company’s prospects for revenue growth in the next 3 years, over that of all industry CEOs at 51%.
Organic growth serves as a driver for corporate growth and profitability in the coming twelve months for Communications companies – with 93% of CEOs agreeing on this. Additional growth comes from such areas as new strategic alliances or joint ventures, and cost reduction. Why such optimism? CEOs have learned to be comfortable with the opportunities that uncertainty brings. CEOs are prioritizing investment in innovation, human capital, and digital & technology capabilities in order to capitalise on new opportunities.
Here’s the good news… 51% of CEOs plan to raise headcount, which is the highest level since we first asked the question. However, 84% of communications CEOs are concerned about availability of key skills.
As communications companies continue to change their business models to become more innovative, a new kind of workforce is required. Organisations need to source talent with technology skills as well as softer skills which haven’t historically been nurtured in communications talent pipelines - skills such as leadership, creativity and innovation, adaptability, and problem-solving.
“As we develop our services more, we find that the human interaction is still very important. So we're investing a lot more in recruiting people, and getting to understand our customer and their needs better. ... So, actually, our employment levels are going up, not going down.”
The Chinese economy continues to undergo complex structural reforms to ensure balanced and steady development and growth. Business outlook for executives in China appears quite positive. To achieve this growth, numerous challenges combined with global economic uncertainty have to be overcome. Intense industry competition, the pace of technological development, changes in consumer spending and behaviour, difficulty with recruiting employees with advanced skills and lack of trust in business were cited as main threats to growth prospects.
Business leaders today have a great opportunity and responsibility to lead through the disruptions by demonstrating purpose and increasing trust. Find out more from our China report: Leading through disruption.