PwC survey finds 9 in 10 anticipate global economy decline over next 12 months
Despite the growing number of layoffs occurring across the world, only 25% of employers in Singapore plan to reduce their workforce and implement hiring freezes in 2023.
Findings from PwC's 26th Annual Global CEO Survey revealed that 67% of 36 executives surveyed in Singapore don't plan to freeze hiring, while 64% don't want to reduce their workforce in the next 12 months.
A massive 83% also said they have no plans to reduce employee compensation, while 14% of Singapore-based employers are planning or are already carrying this out.
These decisions are likely a result of the recent "great resignation" and the “ongoing war for talent," according to the report.
Pessimistic over economic growth
The findings also come as 89% of Singaporean businesses believe that the global economy will decline over the next 12 months — higher than the 73% recorded globally.
"While this is not surprising given Singapore's open economy, it will take more than re-evaluating operating models and cutting costs to survive and thrive in a world that continues to change at a relentless pace," said Sam Kok Weng, Financial Services and Markets Leader at PwC Singapore.
Another 39% of CEOs also don't think their companies will be "economically viable a decade from now if they continue on their current path." They ranked inflation and macroeconomic volatility as the biggest threats to their businesses (31%), followed by cyber risks and geopolitical conflict (25%).
"It is indeed a very challenging time for CEOs, they must reimagine how their businesses can continue to stay relevant and at that same time, tackle immediate issues such as fast-changing customer demands, rising costs, supply chain disruptions, and talent challenges," said Charles Loh, Singapore Consulting Leader at PwC Singapore.
What are their next steps?
While CEOs remain concerned about immediate and long-term issues, 89% said they plan to invest in automating processes and systems, while 83% said they will deploy technology, including cloud, AI, and other advance tech, over the next 12 months.
However, while many CEOs recognise automation as a factor in business survival, this can be "quite daunting and a costly undertaking," according to Loh.
"CEOs must formulate their business-led digital transformation agenda, prioritising digital innovation initiatives, speed to value projects and upskilling the workforce," he said.
Another 78% of the respondents said they plan to upskill their company's workforce in priority areas, according to the report.
This comes amid an emerging need to encourage C-Suite members to rethink workforce strategy, according to Martijn Schouten, People and Organisation - Workforce Transformation Leader, PwC South East Asia Consulting.
"There's also a need to invest in upskilling programs for people-leaders and employees that also touch on interpersonal and non-technical skills to navigate increasing complexities," Schouten added.