Nearly two thirds of CEOs expect their organization’s growth to be “very strong” or “strong” in 2022, according to the winter installment of the Fortune/Deloitte CEO survey.
Fifty three per cent of CEOs in the industrial products sector expected their organization’s growth to be “very strong” or “strong”. CEOs in the consumer products industry were not as optimistic with 46 per cent expecting “strong” growth and 46 per cent expecting “modest” growth.
The quarterly survey was fielded January 4-12 and 175 CEOs representing more than 15 industries took part. Even with the Omicron variant top of mind, CEO expectations were remarkably unchanged from their expectations in the Fall 2021 survey conducted four months ago, a sign CEOs are becoming confident their organizations have adjusted and adapted to a “new normal” marked by the enduring uncertainty of COVID-19.
“A new normal appears to be setting in whereby business leaders simply expect new challenges to arise continuously and are confident they can manage through them to achieve positive business results,” said Joe Ucuzoglu, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte US.
The survey found that CEOs consider the pandemic to be a long-term issue with 40 per cent expecting it to affect business for the rest of 2022 and 32 per cent expecting it to continue doing so “for the foreseeable future”. That bears sharp contrast with their outlook on the pandemic back in the summer of 2021 when 53 per cent expected the impact to be over by the end of 2021.
Although CEOs may have learned to work around the pandemic, the issue that continues to rattle them is talent. Asked which external issue they expected to influence or disrupt their business strategy over the next 12 months, the vast majority (71%) chose the labor/skills shortage, ranking it ahead of the pandemic.
The third most important issue CEOs expect to influence or disrupt business in 2022 was supply chain disruption. Seventy eight per cent of the CEOs in the survey said supply chain disruptions resulted in higher costs for their organization while 58 per cent cited longer fulfillment cycles and 45 per cent cited revenue losses and customer service issues.
Whereas a year ago only 33% of CEOs agreed that their supply chain needed to be redesigned as a result of the pandemic, now virtually all CEOs indicate they plan to take action on their supply chain within the next 12 months. More than half (52 per cent) are planning to change their pricing and profit model as a result while the same amount are planning to expand their supply chain ecosystem with more partners. Thirty seven per cent are planning to update/change their logistics network and the modes they use.
Leaders surveyed include Fortune 500 CEOs, Global 500 CEOs, and select CEOs in the global Fortune community.