Chief Executive Outlook Positive For 2022 In Spite Of Concerns

More than 80% of global chief executives across 44 industries believe economic growth will remain strong in the new year. However, it won’t be without a high level of uncertainty and volatility, according to a new survey by YPO, the global leadership community of chief executives.

Conducted 18 November – 5 December with 1,700 chief executives in 101 countries responding, top YPO Global Pulse Survey findings include:

  • Things are looking up for many companies when it comes to two critical business factors: revenue growth and hiring.
    • Among those surveyed, 37% reported a 20% increase in revenue or more since the beginning of 2021, and only 17% said they saw a decrease of 10% or more since the beginning of the year. Nearly a year before this, in October 2020 (link to past Pulse), only 19% of respondents expected an increase in revenue of 20% or more in 2021.
  • Hiring has picked up, with 38% of respondents experiencing a 10% increase or more in the number of employees since the beginning of 2021, though 45% of firms said their total head count is about the same as it was in early 2021 and 16% said they saw a decrease.
  • Most chief executives (71%) reported being either very or somewhat concerned about the impact of inflation on their businesses next year.S. leaders (77%) are more concerned about inflation than their counterparts anywhere else in the world. 
    • Inflation concerns could spell bad news for consumers, with 74% of the respondents in the Food and Beverage industry, 73% in Manufacturing and 62% in Retail and Wholesale Sales planning to raise prices in response to inflation. 
  • There seems to be no immediate end in sight for the supply chain issues, with only 2% of respondents believing they will be resolved in early 2022. Thirty-nine percent believe resolution will come at the end of 2022, and 38% expect it in 2023 or later.
  • The global labor shortage continues to pose challenges for many companies, with 67% of respondents saying it is somewhat or very difficult for their businesses to find employees for the general workforce at present and 57% of respondents reporting the same levels of difficulty when it comes to C-suite and executive hires.
  • Despite clear concerns over productivity, many are moving forward with flexible and remote work schedules. Even though only 1% of executives surveyed believe employees are more productive at home than in the office, 74% of business leaders shared that some form of flexible work arrangements will become more permanent.
  • With pandemic pressures taking their toll on teams, some businesses are taking steps to improve mental health benefits, with 35% reporting some type of mental health investment or strategy for employees and 16% saying they don’t have one now but plan to add one.
  • Are global business leaders buying into cryptocurrencies? No, only 28% of surveyed leaders said they have invested in cryptocurrencies, with 13% planning to in the future, leaving the majority (60%) saying they aren’t and don’t have plans to invest personally. Which chief executive demographic is leaning into the crypto charge? Respondents under the age of 35, with 58% sharing that they are already investing.
  • Heading into 2022, YPO member chief executives shared all business leaders should keep their eyes focused on these key management issues:
    • Improving employee engagement and work culture/retention.
    • Exploring alternative cash streams and protecting existing cash flows.
    • Preparing for the impact of inflation.
    • Planning for any future supply chain issues.
    • Understanding evolving customer needs.

YPO Global Pulse Methodology:
The YPO Global Pulse was conducted by YPO from 18 November – 5 December 2021 via an online questionnaire. A total of 1,700 YPO members responded to the survey. The members in this sample are representative of the larger YPO population and come from 101 different countries. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.