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Nine out of ten local CEOs expect revenue growth - PwC

Some 89% of Hungarian CEOs see their companiesʼ revenue growing in the next 12 months, compared to 82% globally, consulting firm PwC said on Wednesday, based on its 8th Hungarian CEO Survey  conducted in the fourth quarter of 2018.

“CEOs’ confidence in global and Hungarian economic growth is subdued compared to last year,” begins a press release from PwC. “Despite this, they are still confident about their own organizations’ success, which they aim to ensure by focusing on operational efficiencies, innovation and human capital.”

Confidence in the economic environment has diminished somewhat as only 35% of CEOs said they expect Hungaryʼs economic growth to pick up in 2019, compared to the 55% in 2018 that said GDP growth would accelerate.

Some 87% of CEOs said they want to improve efficiency this year, 56% want to expand their range of products and services, and 51% target organic growth, but only 30% want to enter new markets, according to the survey.

“I think the current period of prosperity is encouraging for CEOs, and affords them excellent opportunities to take action towards concrete goals,” observes PwC Hungary CEO Tamás Lőcsei. “Although clouds are gathering over the horizon, there is still time to act in order to prepare and bolster companies.”

Labor shortages remain the biggest concern of local CEOs, with 92% of them citing this factor during the survey. Some 83% are concerned about changing employee demographics, 72% worry about rising wages and benefits, and 71% say over-regulation is a problem.

The most significant change has been in the level of concern about exchange rate volatility: 63% of Hungarian CEOs report they are affected by it, compared to 46% last year. Concern about climate change among CEOs has risen by 16 percentage points, while concern about volatile energy costs has also increased by 15 percentage points, the survey reveals.

Of the total respondents, 7% said the labor crunch is raising their personnel costs more than expected, 42% said it is preventing them from pursuing market opportunities, and 42% noted it is impacting their quality standards.

Comprehensive data lacking

CEOs seem to be in agreement on the value of data, with nearly all respondents indicating a willingness to use data to ensure long-term success and durability of their business.

Despite massive investments in IT infrastructure over the past decade, CEOs report that they are still not receiving the comprehensive data they need to make key decisions, however. The only exception is financial information, with 51% of Hungarian CEOs saying they receive comprehensive data in that area. For all other data types, less than 50% of respondents reported receiving comprehensive data.

PwC interviewed the CEOs of 236 Hungarian companies between October and December 2018, while its global survey was carried out among 1,378 CEOs. The Hungarian survey was conducted in cooperation with the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists (MGYOSZ).

The full survey report in English, a promotional video and further details are available on PwC’s Hungarian CEO Survey website.