Typically Canadian: majority of CEOs 'somewhat' confident for revenue growth in future



    People issues are huge factor in growth projections

    TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Reflecting typical Canadian humbleness, the
annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Global CEO survey has found that the
majority of Canadian CEOs (59%) are 'somewhat confident' for revenue growth in
the next year and 63% over the next three years. This compares to the global
percentages of 49% and 51% respectively.
    "Given the current economy, it's not surprising that CEOs in Canada are
modest in their projections for growth in the coming years," says Dean
Mullett, Co-Head of PwC Canada's Economic and Credit Crisis Task Force. "That
said, those companies that are well prepared to manage through this downturn
do have a much more positive outlook and know that they will come through
better in the end."
    The PwC Global CEO Survey is based on interviews with 1,124 CEO across 50
countries. In Canada 41 CEOs were surveyed.
    According to the survey, Canadian CEOs are much more likely than their
global counterparts to be looking inwards for growth, with the majority (54%
Canadian vs. 37% globally) saying that their main opportunities to grow their
business will come through better penetration of existing markets. This was
followed by M&A (25% Canadian vs. 13% globally) and new product development
(20% Canadian vs. 17% globally). The majority, expect to finance the growth
through internally generated cash flow (88% Canadian vs. 76% globally),
followed by the debt market (37% vs. 18% globally) and private equity (27% vs.
19%).
    "We've also found that CEOs in Canada are more likely to feel that the
recent problems in the markets will increase the cost of finance, delay
investment plans and reduce their ability to enter new markets," says Mullett.
"Companies need to understand how their business is being impacted by the
downturn - the true picture not what you would like to believe. Get to the
bottom of what is driving the business; what you do best and why."
    While the survey showed that 83% of Canadian CEOs are either extremely or
somewhat concerned with the downturn in major economies, 63% are also either
extremely or somewhat concerned with the availability of key skills (46%
globally) as a threat to their growth prospects. Eighty-one percent of
Canadian CEOs say that they can't find the right skills in the available
labour pool, with a further 85% citing both retention of key employees and
recruiting and integrating younger employees as challenges they face.
    "Labour shortages and talent management issues kept coming up in our
survey," says Bonnie Flatt, a Director with PwC Canada's Human Resource
Services. "Businesses need to keep focused on their long term people strategy
during these challenging times. Failure to do so could mean they do not have
enough people for the upturn and lose competitive advantage.
    Indeed, 100% of Canadian CEOs surveyed said that access to, and the
retention of key talent was the most important source of competitive advantage
in sustaining their growth over the long-term. Further, 95% stated that
information about their employees' views and needs is critical to the
decisions made about the future success of their business. Additionally,
Canadian CEOs are much more likely than their global counterparts to be
attuned to demographics and health and wellness issues: 46% in Canada vs. 30%
globally for demographic changes and another 46% in Canada vs. 29% globally
for health and wellness.
    "To combat the people challenges, Canadian CEOs are offering a more
flexible work environment, redeploying pivotal employees within the
organization and collaborating with networks of external specialists to
attract talent," notes Flatt. "It is all about creating an employer brand and
employment relationship that will attract, motivate and retain top talent.
This means looking not just at how much you pay people, but developing rich
and varied career opportunities for your people, defining and communicating
your culture and aligning your HR programs and processes to support and
enhance your employer brand."

    PwC Economic and Credit Crisis Task Force

    PwC recognizes that a global crisis requires a global and coordinated
view.
    The PwC Economic and Credit Crisis Task Force (the "PwC Task Force")
brings together a team of senior cross-functional experienced practitioners
who understand market volatility and the diverse challenges facing companies
today. By leveraging knowledge, experience and networks, the PwC Task Force
can advise and guide Canadian companies through a multitude of capital market
and economic crisis issues.
    For more information please visit: www.pwc.com/ca/managinginadownturn or
www.pwc.com/ceosurvey

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
(www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,200 partners and
staff in offices across the country.
    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.





For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Nina Godard, PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, (416) 941-8383 x 13520, nina.godard@ca.pwc.com

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