Canadian CEOs confident about growth: Global survey

'Business leaders are feeling an unprecedented level of confidence'
||Last Updated: 05/23/2018
Economic outlook, economy
Canadian CEOs are confident the Canadian economy will continue to grow (94 per cent) over the next three years.

Canadian CEOs are far more bullish on their ability to harness technology and grow their business than their global counterparts, according to a survey by KPMG.

"Despite much debate about the potential trade headwinds facing the country, Canadian CEOs have a positive outlook for their own businesses and our economy as a whole," said Benjie Thomas, Canadian managing partner, advisory services, at KPMG in Canada.

"In fact, business leaders in Canada are feeling an unprecedented level of confidence that has them aggressively ready to take on the challenges and opportunities facing their companies."

Canadian CEOs are confident the Canadian economy will continue to grow (94 per cent) over the next three years and they expect their businesses to grow (96 per cent) along with it, found the survey of about 1,300 CEOs from around the world (with 50 in Canada).

"Canadian companies have, for the most part, enjoyed strong earnings and profits over the past few years and are looking to deploy the large pools of capital they have stored up," says Thomas. "While many will invest in organic growth, most CEOs say they are looking outside of the organization for new opportunities."

Key findings



Confident in domestic growth



Plan to be the disrupter not disrupted



AI and robotics will create more jobs than eliminate



Already used AI to automate processes



Cyber attack will hit my company



Very well prepared to contain a cyber attack



A belief in growth

2018 should see a big uptick in mergers and acquisitions across the globe and Canada will be no exception, said Thomas.

"Eighty-two per cent of Canadian CEOs said they will make an acquisition over the next three years. More than a third of those expect the acquisition to have a significant impact on their overall organization, suggesting some deals will be sizable."

Success in the digital age

Canadian CEOs are also focused on how to adapt to rapid technological advancements that are disrupting many industries, found KPMG's 2018 Global CEO Outlook.

"Canadian companies don't just feel they are embracing disruption, they feel they are creating it," said Jonathan Kallner, KPMG in Canada's managing partner, clients and markets.

"In fact, 96 per cent of Canadian CEOs say that rather than waiting to be disrupted by their competitors, they are actively disrupting the sector in which they operate. It is clear that Canadian CEOs have no plans to sit back and wait for startups to reshape their industries — our leaders plan to leverage technology to be the aggressor."

Virtually all (98 per cent) are in the process of building artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations, with nearly one-quarter (22 per cent) having already fully implemented AI in their processes and another 56 per cent using it in limited applications.

"While the benefit of many of these applications is to drive costs out of the business, Canadian CEOs also see technology as key in growing their businesses," said Kallner. "Nearly two-thirds believe that investments in artificial intelligence and robotics will create more jobs than they eliminate, slightly higher than the global view."

Canadian CEOs also believe the risk of a cyber-attack is the greatest threat to growth, found KPMG. Half of the CEOs said it is no longer a case of “if” they'll be hit, but a matter of “when,” and many have taken personal ownership to protect clients and their company from an attack.

"A focus on putting the right people and processes in place has 86 per cent believing they are now well prepared to contain the impact of a future attack — with 58 per cent saying they are very well prepared," said Georgina Black, partner and national leader, management consulting at KPMG in Canada.

"This personal investment by Canadian CEOs gives them a far greater confidence than their global peers, where only 26 per cent said they were very well prepared for an attack."

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