76% of Canadian CEOs believe global economic growth will decline over the next 12-months, the most pessimistic outlook in over a decade: PwC Global 26th Annual CEO Survey


More than three quarters of Canadian CEOs (76%) believe that global economic growth will decline over the next 12 months, according to PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey, which polled 4,410 CEOs in 105 countries and territories in October and November 2022. This bleak outlook is the most pessimistic CEOs have been regarding global economic growth in over a decade, and is a significant departure from the optimistic outlooks of previous years where a majority of the CEOs had thought economic growth would improve.

The survey focused on critical issues the world’s business leaders are facing, and how they can balance the dual imperative of reinventing their businesses to succeed in a changing world while managing short-term pressures and challenges.

“CEOs have endured a lengthy period of crisis and threats that have impacted last year’s optimism. With inflation at levels that have not been seen in decades, macroeconomic volatility, and geopolitical tensions to name a few factors, it’s no surprise that CEOs are predicting a decline in global growth over the next 12 months,” said Nicolas Marcoux, CEO PwC Canada. “In order to get beyond the short-term challenges, and excel in the longer-term, strategic transformation is going to be critical.”

The next 10 years and the race for the future

A significant number of both global CEOs (39%) and Canadian respondents (25%) believe that their company will no longer be economically viable a decade from now, if they continue on their current path. The result is a race for CEOs to reinvent their businesses, which many are planning to pursue through further investments in digital transformation initiatives like automation of processes and systems and deploying cloud, artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies.

Cybersecurity and data privacy are also high on the radar with almost half of the Canadian CEOs (49%) planning investments in supply chain resilience to mitigate exposure to geopolitical conflict in the next 12 months. A collaborative approach from the top is vital, given that a critical aspect of cybersecurity improvements is through executive collaboration.

The CEOs’ race against time is especially urgent when it comes to climate change. Our survey shows that there is significant work to do on key actions like cutting carbon emissions, with almost half (49%) of Canadian CEOs not looking to reduce emissions or having yet to move forward with their plans to do so.

CEOs are cutting costs, but not headcount or compensation

Relatively few CEOs are considering hiring freezes and other actions negatively impacting the workforce this year. Only 18% of Canadian CEOs (24% globally) are considering hiring freezes in the next 12 months to mitigate against economic challenges and volatility. A vast majority – 85% – indicate they do not plan to reduce staff remuneration in order to retain talent and mitigate workforce attrition rates, and 70% plan to focus on upskilling their workforce.

A balanced agenda

Finding the right balance for CEOs as they take on this dual imperative is crucial. CEOs need to find time, capacity and resources to balance investments in reinventing the business while managing their day-to-day challenges and needs. CEOs themselves say they are spending too much time on operational performance issues than investing in their businesses to evolve for the future.

Nicolas Marcoux, CEO, PwC Canada concludes: “Striking the right balance may be challenging, but CEOs in Canada have demonstrated their resilience and an incredible ability to pivot these past few years. By staying focused on building trust and generating long-term value for their people, their clients and society, business leaders can position themselves strongly to mitigate the risk of a potential economic downturn.”


Cybersecurity strategies shift as Canadian businesses invest in digitization during COVID-19 pandemic


Most (97%) Canadian businesses (96% globally) say their cybersecurity strategies will shift as a result of the increased digitization during COVID-19 pandemic according to PwC Canada’s Digital Trust Insights report. PwC surveyed more than 3,000 business and technology executives around the world, including a significant number of Canadian respondents, who tell us what’s changing and what’s next in cybersecurity, privacy and resilience.

“Traditional approaches to cyber are struggling to keep up with the pace and scale of digitization and automation. And they’re slowing down business strategies and impacting both the top and bottom line. So it’s really not surprising that nearly all Canadian executives say their cybersecurity strategies will shift as a result of COVID-19.” says Saj Nair, Partner & National Leader for Cybersecurity, Privacy & Financial Crime, PwC Canada.

Rethink the cyber budget process
Almost half (56%) of the Canadian respondents (55% globally) expect to increase their cyber budgets, however only very few (34%) of Canadian executives (44% globally) are really confident their cyber budgets are being assigned and spent correctly. As organizations digitize, getting the most value out of every cyber dollar spent will become even more critical, not just because of our current economic climate, but also because every new digital process can become a vulnerability for cyber attack.

Level the playing field with attackers
Leading organizations are exploring innovative and advanced methods to protect their expanding digital ecosystems as increased adoption of cloud, automation and Internet of Things (IoT) systems can’t be protected with traditional IT Security methods. The top three cybersecurity approaches that Canadian organizations have implemented, and are currently realizing the most benefits from, are security orchestration and automation (19%), modern identity and access management (17%) and integrated cloud and network security (17%).

Build resilience for any scenario
Cybersecurity’s role now and into the future will be strengthening the resilience of their organizations. Almost half (57%) of Canadian executives (40% globally) plan to increase resilience testing to make sure, if a disruptive cyber event occurs, their critical business functions will stay up and running.

Talent: Future-proof the security team
In the next year, 42% of Canadian respondents plan to add full-time cybersecurity personnel to their organization. Many recognize the challenges in attracting and retaining good cyber talent, and so not surprisingly an overwhelming majority (94%) of Canadian respondents (93% globally) use or plan to use managed services.

Digital Resilience Centre
To further enable their clients on their digital trust journey, PwC Canada has opened its first Digital Resilience Centre in VaughanCanada. The Centre provides an end-to-end digital trust framework to help organizations innovate, experience, and operate across the threat management lifecycle. The Centre helps organizations unify their defences against digital threats by bringing together thought leadership and capabilities across cybersecurity, privacy, anti-fraud, anti-money laundering, physical security and safety. Within the Centre is the Digital Resilience Sandbox, an immersive lab where clients can see, touch and experience the latest technologies, such as industrial systems, robotics, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and mixed reality, and simulate offensive and defensive tactics on them. Clients can experience what an adverse event on their digital ecosystem would look like and test various methods to prevent, detect and react to these threats. Other similar centres exist in IsraelIndia and the US.