CEOs hungry to release ambitions this year with realistic optimism

We asked 152 of our SME CEOs from a diverse range of industries about their current levels of confidence in the economy.

One year on from COVID-19 hitting the shores of Australia and New Zealand, business leaders have learned to live with, rather than react to, the virus. Armed with fresh perspective, CEOs are looking to the year ahead with realistic optimism – a strong belief in their capacity to grow and focused business investment to realise success.

  • Two out of three CEOs expect their profits to grow in 2021
  • Leaders are signalling a strong focus on the elements of their business they can control, with an uptick in investment, anticipated sales, and planned price rises.
  • SMEs have a renewed focus on diversification in product and service offerings, carving out new pathways to success.
  • 67% business leaders plan to increase their number of employees in the next 12 months

The results are summarised below.

About the CEO Confidence Index

The Executive Connection CEO Confidence Index is a survey measuring the economic outlook and sentiment of Australian and New Zealand business leaders of Mid-market organisations. The survey measures the following indexes:

  • Views about economic conditions compared to a year ago
  • Expectations for economic conditions in the year ahead
  • Business expectations for the next 12 months on:
    − Fixed capital expenditure
    − Sales revenues
    − Profitability
    − Prices for their products and services
    − Total headcount

The survey also identifies the challenges and opportunities faced by leaders including business operations, leadership, talent and technology.  Members are CEOs and business leaders of businesses with up to 200 employees and annual revenue of between $2 million and $100+ million per year. The results provide insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by leaders and their confidence in the Australian and New Zealand business environment as well as insights into key issues such as political leadership, access to funding and market conditions.

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