81% of engineering and construction CEOs are confident of revenue growth over the next 12 months, rising to 92% over three years.
51% of engineering and construction CEOs are concerned about bribery and corruption, down from 67% last year.
These are excerpts from the 18th edition of PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey that featured 1322 CEOs across 77 countries worldwide.
PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey, now in its eighteenth year, aims to inform and stimulate the debate on how businesses are facing today’s challenges. Over the years, thousands of CEOs around the world have taken the time to share their views.
This year’s survey looks at how business leaders are finding new ways to compete in an era of unprecedented digital change. The 2015 report, tagged; ‘A marketplace without boundaries? Responding to disruption’ explores three implications of this changing competitive landscape for CEOs:
- They need to understand how to create new value in new ways through digital transformation;
- Develop diverse and dynamic partnerships; and
- Find different ways of thinking and working.
And to succeed, business leaders will have to show vision and flexibility in thinking, and superb powers of listening and learning to make clear, informed decisions.
The 2015 PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey was launched on 20 January 2015, on the eve of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Below are the highlights of their findings as expressed by the Engineering and Construction industry CEOs surveyed.
2015 Engineering and Construction Industry Global Outlook
According to the study, Engineering and construction CEOs worry about the economy and a range of risks, but are still fairly confident of revenue growth. They’re looking to new sectors, actively investing in digital technologies and forming alliances with new partners. Many are even collaborating with competitors.
Here are the details;
Building on Strengths to Enter New Sectors
Engineering and construction CEOs are more pessimistic about the economic outlook than their peers in other industries: only 28% believe the global economy will improve this year (versus 50% last year). Despite their reservations about the economy, 67% of engineering and construction CEOs think there are more opportunities for growth than there were three years ago.
And they are just as confident as last year that they can generate higher revenues in both the short (81%) and mid (92%) term. They’re looking to the US and China – albeit at lower levels than CEOs in most other sectors – to produce much of this growth. But Saudi Arabia and Africa are on their radar too.
Gearing up for Disruptive Megatrends
They’re well aware of the risks, though. Overregulation and higher taxes top their concerns, but 58% are also worried about bribery and corruption, compared to 51% of the sample overall. They’re also steeling themselves for major disruptions over the next five years, as various megatrends converge.
The likelihood of more direct and indirect competition makes them nervous. But they’re generally more relaxed about the disruptive potential of new regulations, distribution channels and production technologies, and changes in the way customers behave, than their peers in other industries.
Active in New and Adjacent Industries
More than half of all engineering and construction CEOs think a growing number of companies from adjacent industries will enter the sector in the next five years, although 31% don’t expect any significant rivals to emerge (versus 22% overall).
This may reflect the competitive nature and low returns available in the sector. In fact, 41% of engineering and construction CEOs say they have already entered another sector, more than the average of 33%. These pioneers are targeting the energy, utilities and mining, professional and business services, and industrial manufacturing sectors.
Competing in New Ways to Create New Sources of Value
56% of CEOs think competition will increasingly come from other sectors or sub-sectors. CEOs see the technology sector as the main source of cross-sector competition.
Digital Delivers Efficiency and Innovation
Most engineering and construction CEOs are also investing in digital technologies to create value in new ways. Their top three priorities are cybersecurity, mobile technologies for engaging with customers and data mining and analysis.
They’re also more interested in the potential of 3D printing than CEOs in most sectors; that suggests increasing levels of off-site manufacturing could become the norm.
So how have these investments paid off?
Engineering and construction CEOs say that digital technologies have been especially valuable in improving their company’s operational efficiency, as well as enhancing data analysis and external and internal collaboration.
They are also having a positive impact on innovation capacity and sourcing and supply chain management. But maximising the returns is difficult, they warn. It requires a clear vision of how digital technologies can help to deliver competitive advantage, together with a robust plan that includes concrete measures of success and a CEO who is willing to champion digital within the enterprise.
Dynamic Alliances, Different Talent
The percentage of engineering and construction CEOs who plan to form a new alliance has leapt to 61% this year, up from 49% in 2014. And they’re far more likely to be joining forces with competitors than CEOs in other sectors are (45% versus 27% overall).
Half of all engineering and construction CEOs also intend to hire more people this year, but finding candidates with the right skills is a key concern. Engineering and construction CEOs have already taken several steps to address the talent shortfall:
- 72% have widened their search to different countries, industries or demographic segments.
- Similarly, 61% have implemented a strategy for promoting talent diversity.