Global CEO survey highlights New Zealand’s HR strengths – and weaknesses

A new report has provided an insight into the minds of New Zealand’s CEOs, including expectations for the near future, global opportunities and the role of HR.

Global CEO survey highlights New Zealand’s HR strengths – and weaknesses
PwC recently released its 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, which interviewed 71 New Zealand CEOs amongst its global participants.

Confidences and concerns

Of the New Zealand based CEOs surveyed, 88% said they felt confident in their company’s growth prospects this year.

However, the report found that 84% of CEOs were concerned about the availability of key skills in New Zealand.

Compared to their international counterparts, Kiwi CEOs had more confidence in the recovery of the global economy, with 47% of them saying that they predicted an improvement.

In China, 46% of CEOs agreed, while 41% in the UK, 38% in Australia and 29% in the US said that they thought the global economy would improve. Globally, 37% of CEOs predicted economic improvement.


According to the report, the majority of New Zealand based CEOs identified Australia as the place they considered most important for overall growth prospects. This was followed by China and the US.

Globally, CEOs chose the US, which overtook China for the first time in five years as the top location for growth opportunities.


The following technologies were deemed the most strategically important by CEOs in New Zealand:
  • Mobile (84%)
  • Cyber security (81%)
  • Data mining (77%)
“With real time analytics, we know every day how well everyone is doing, rather than grinding through performance reviews because it’s the HR process,” said Barbara Chapman, CEO of ASB Bank. “We need to get data analytics into the HR space.”

Almost 70% of CEOs said that digital technologies are creating value in finding, developing and retaining talent. This put New Zealand as a leading user of such technologies – globally, 59% of CEOs said the same.

A further 26% said that they use technology to analyse how skills are being deployed in their organisation, which set New Zealanders behind the global proportion of 46%.

“With more than half of New Zealand CEOs looking to increase headcounts this year and 84% of them worried about the availability of key skills, it’s clear that technology and the use of data analytics in people strategies will be key to unlocking an organisation’s potential in coming years,” the report said.


PwC found that New Zealand’s organisations are lagging behind when it comes to workplace diversity.

When it came to the promotion of diversity and inclusion, just 32% of CEOs said that their company had a strategy in place to do so. Of the remaining participants, 26% said that they intended to implement one, while 35% said that they did not have a strategy in place or plans to adopt one.

Globally, 64% of CEOs said that their organisation had such a strategy in place, while 13% said that they were planning to implement one. Just 17% said that they had neither a strategy nor a plan for one.

“We have recently established our first diversity committee,” said Adrian Littlewood, CEO of Auckland Airport. “One of the trickiest things early on was that we didn’t actually know how diverse our organisation was.”

Of the reports Kiwi participants who had a diversity and inclusion strategy in place, 85% said that it has enhanced customer satisfaction, while 80% said that it enhances business performance.

“Our approach to people and diversity is initiative based, initiative driven from the bottom up by people who want to make a difference, do better,” said Chapman. “In my mind, diversity is about being able to think about decisions from lots of different angles and being brave enough to speak up.”

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD New Zealand.

Recent articles & video

Religion, rugby and contracts

How can leaders be fit for the future?

How to offer a stellar employee recognition program

Insights from an award-winning HR leader

Most Read Articles

How to handle a toxic boss

‘Diversity cannot thrive without a culture of inclusion’

Company fined $250K after fatal incident