The economic crisis is still failing to inspire confidence in chief executives around the world, with two thirds expecting more financial problems to come in 2013.
When asked about their company’s prospects for the coming year, just 36% said they were ‘very confident’.
That’s a drop from 40% when the question was asked a year ago and a big drop from 48% when the survey was carried out in 2011.
The figures come from accountancy firm PwC‘s Global CEO Survey
The poll also revealed that 28% of CEOs believe the world’s economy fall further this year, while only 18% predicted any improvement.
“Businesses have a clear customer focus and are working with them more closely to stimulate demand and loyalty,” said a spokesman.
“Most companies are looking for organic growth and avoiding large outlays which might affect future resources. They are also looking at refining their operations and cutting costs without reducing value.
“It’s no surprise that CEO confidence has declined in the past year when they are concerned about over regulation, national debt and market instability which is why they remain cautious for their short term prospects.”
Indeed, the list of what worries CEOs the most has widened in the last 12 months with 81% citing the uncertainty on economic growth prospects as their main concern.
The CEOs also feel fiscal deficits (71%) and over-regulation (69%) are holding back economies.
Sharp global divide
There’s also a sharp divide among CEOs around the world when asked about revenue growths picking up.
Only 27% European business leaders were confident that growth would pick up, down from 39%, in North America it has fallen from 42% to 33% and in Asia Pacific it is down to 36% from 42%.
The survey found that in Africa, highlighted as being a great prospect for high growth in the coming years, saw business confidence slip from 57% to 44%.
The only bright spot was Latin America, where CEO confidence has risen to 53%.
The future is also bleak for job hunters, with less than half of CEOs (45%) expecting to recruit in 2013.
Almost a quarter (23%) of CEOs predict they will offload workers, with business services (56%) and then engineering and construction (both 52%) saying they would definitely reduce their workforces.
A huge 82% of CEOs intend to alter their customer growth strategies this year to reflect changing buying patterns