South African CEOs undeterred by looming recession – KPMG outlook report



Not one of the 50 CEOs interviewed in South Africa considered a full-time remote working arrangement a viable option for their company in the near future. In fact, 76% of them expect employees to return to the office full-time within the next three years.

That’s according to the latest KPMG CEO Outlook Survey 2022 report, which interviewed 50 CEOs locally and 1,325 globally. The KPMG Outlook Survey is a globally driven annual report that draws on the views of these CEOs across 11 markets to gain insight into their three-year outlook for the business and economic outlook.

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While a full-time return to the office may seem like bad news for many South Africans, who are hoping remote work options will ease the pressure of rising fuel prices in the face of the looming recession, the survey shows that it is precisely these leaders who are among the leaders of SA. Enterprise Boats believes that as a country SA is well prepared to weather the turbulent times, so the pressure of the recession may not hit consumers as hard as they expect.

“It is encouraging to note that 71% of global CEOs are confident about the growth prospects of the global economy over the next three years, although more than 80% first predict that a global recession is likely to occur within the next 12 months,” said CEO Official Busisiwe Mavuso said South African business leadership officials.

“Overall, they are confident in the resilience of the global economy and believe the recession will be short-lived.”

Of the 1,325 CEOs surveyed this year, a majority indicated three key areas of their recent focus. These are technology, talent and ESG.

technology investment

KPMG CEO Ignatius Sehoole explained that CEOs across the board are prioritizing digital transformation of their businesses. “CEOs in South Africa continue to prioritize digital investments, with 84% of local executives saying so compared to 71% globally. In fact, 58% of South African CEOs will make more Capital investment is used to buy new technology,” he said.

Sehoole said AI is becoming more prominent and gaining traction in previously neglected industries.

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“It’s interesting to see what artificial intelligence can do in the mining industry. It’s revolutionizing it,” he said.

Even KPMG itself is implementing more technological and artificial intelligence advancements, he explained.

“Since adopting AI, I can honestly say that we haven’t reduced headcount. So the argument that AI will cause job losses is currently untenable. It’s really just improving operations and employee morale because they can be free Free up time for more interesting tasks,” he said.

attract the necessary talent

Talent has become one of the top three most pressing issues for organizations. Due to challenging economic conditions and CEO growth goals, the way CEOs support and attract talent is changing. Sehoole explained that older generations view their relationship with the workplace very differently than younger generations view their relationship with the workplace.

“Employee expectations for hybrid work are changing, so it is important for CEOs in South Africa or globally to develop better work structures that suit their employees in this emerging field,” the report advises.

Nonetheless, many organizations in South Africa are launching back-to-office programs to usher in a ‘return to normalcy’, with 76% of local CEOs envisioning the office as a working environment in three years’ time, compared to 65% globally.

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Interestingly, companies’ ESG approaches are increasingly seen as a differentiator, as many CEOs mentioned that they see a huge demand for improved ESG transparency and reporting, as well as a high demand from employees and new hires.

“There’s a resurgence of purpose-driven organizations. And increasingly, it’s people-driven. I see now that when I talk to college students who want to get into KPMG, they purposely ask, ‘Your purpose What? Why are you here? What made you tick? It seemed like they cared deeply about social justice, they were environmentally responsible, and they started asking questions about it,” Sehoole explained.

Greater need for environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics alignment

Research has found that ESG has become integral to long-term financial success. South African CEOs increasingly agree that ESG programs can improve financial performance, including securing talent, strengthening employee value propositions, attracting loyal customers and raising capital.

But Sehoole said that, judging by the conversation, no one seemed to agree on the correct position on ESG.

“When looking at the challenges of implementing an ESG strategy, we found that local CEOs cited ‘identifying and measuring agreed metrics’ as the biggest challenge,” he said.

“Nevertheless, the importance of ESG initiatives to businesses, especially in improving financial performance, driving growth and meeting stakeholder expectations cannot be overstated. While we know there is a lack of agreed global frameworks for measuring and ESG performance, but a KPMG survey shows that 65% of stakeholders are demanding greater ESG transparency and reporting, and 60% of CEOs state that 10% of their revenue will be allocated to investment projects to make the organization more sustainable, “He says.

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