Dealing with a new reality

PwC’s 23rd CEO Survey Results

Only two years ago, CEOs worldwide were very positive about the economic outlook. Last year we already saw small cracks appear, and this year CEO sentiment is fairly pessimistic.

In the CEO Survey results, the responses of 1,580 CEOs are taken into account, among which 35 Dutch CEOs. The outcomes for the Netherlands are in line with the global results. When there is a significant deviation, we provide an indication.

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expects a decline in economic growth.


reports significant progress with establishing an upskilling programme.


agrees strongly that climate change initiatives will provide new opportunities.


thinks the internet will become more fractured as governments apply their own legislation about content, commerce and privacy.

The reversal compared to two years ago is conspicuous

From the results we can infer that CEOs are uncertain about the direction and outcomes of global developments. The sobering realisation that ten years after the global financial crisis, the economy is in a different mode than before the crisis, plays a role as well according to PwC’s Chief Economist Jan Willem Velthuijsen.

Expectations of CEOs regarding global economic growth over the next twelve months
Question: How confident are you about your organisation's prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months?

Negative sentiment among CEOs only partly affects their revenue growth prospects

The percentage of CEOs indicating to be ‘somewhat confident’ about their organisation's prospects for revenue growth over the next twelve months, remained roughly unchanged at 45. The number of CEOs that is ‘very confident’ about the prospects for revenue growth, declined however from 35% to 27%. As such, CEOs are more positive about the prospects for their own organisation than those for the economy as a whole.

CEOs have to deal with global uncertainties

CEOs are uncertain about developments beyond their control, such as trade conflicts and geopolitical risks, but that have the potential to affect the prospects for their organisations. In 2018 and 2019, CEOs were also concerned about societal, economic and geopolitical developments. At that time however, this did not lead to the more sombre economic expectations that we observe this year.

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Jan Willem Velthuijsen

Jan Willem Velthuijsen

Chief economist PwC, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 248 32 93

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