Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC UK
The insights of CEOs around the world are more relevant than ever as the UK sets its future paths. What strikes me when looking at responses to our CEO survey this year is how consistent CEOs are in their priorities and concerns. They acknowledge significant challenges and have plans in place to respond. But they also see opportunity amid the uncertainty.
A common area of focus is future trade. This is undoubtedly a priority for UK business, but we see this elsewhere too. And viewed against a challenging global economic and political backdrop, the UK remains a beacon of relative stability.
That’s one of the reasons why CEOs worldwide rank the UK as the fourth most important territory for growth. Perhaps more surprising, given the current political environment, is that the UK has become more attractive to our nearest neighbours such as France and Germany.
We need to capitalise and build on this position - and to do this, improving workforce skills will be vital. CEOs globally say the availability of skills is the number one threat to their business and it’s a top three concern for UK CEOs, yet only about half are focused on upskilling their existing workforce.
Technology can help businesses upskill at scale. And by improving skills, they can tackle the other major challenges they are most concerned about, such as cyber threats and the climate change.
So while uncertainty is the watchword for CEOs everywhere, there are also significant opportunities for those that can successfully navigate the uncertainty.