KPMG’s 2019 Canadian CEO Outlook
KPMG recently released the 2019 Canadian CEO Outlook which surveyed 1,300 CEOs of large companies from around the world, including 75 in Canada, to get their views on the highest-priority opportunities and most daunting challenges they and their businesses face.
Interestingly, both Canadian and global CEOs told KPMG that the environment, territorialism and disruptive technologies were their top three concerns. For Canadian companies, lack of consensus on environmental issues weighs heavily given our disproportionate dependence on the resource sector. And while nearly a third of our GDP is tied to exports, growing trade differences between Canada’s two largest trade partners raises concerns about the ongoing health of our economy. While our leaders are carefully watching how these national and geopolitical issues pan out, they are putting their focus on technology.
To that end, transformation and disruption have been recurring themes in previous CEO Outlooks. This year is no exception. CEOs in every industry are acutely aware of the new technologies, competitors and workforce trends at their doorstep, and many are making agility and innovation their priority. Canadian CEOs are no different, although their current strategies and concerns reveal room to grow before they can lead their international peers.
A few interesting findings from the 2019 Canadian CEO Outlook:
- Only 69% of Canadian CEOs want to be disruptors in their market, compared to 96% just one year earlier
- 54% of Canadian leaders view cyber security as a significant cause for concern, compared to only 7% in 2018
- Most Canadian organizations (63%) say their inability to find the workers they need is negatively impacting growth
- 76% of Canadian CEOs agree they need to improve their innovation processes and execution
- 79% believe AI and robotics will create more jobs than it eliminates, compared to only 65% of their global peers
- Economic and political uncertainties have driven a third of Canadian CEOs to pursue strategic alliances with third parties as their top growth strategy over mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and organic growth
- 75% of Canadian CEOs agree there is a higher need to “act with agility”
The 2019 Canadian CEO Outlooks reveals a country of big thinkers and even bigger ambitions. It also indicates that Canadian organizations are at different stages in their journey than their global peers. Chalk it up to less experience with new technologies or the cautious “Canadian way” but Canada has been slow to catch up to the new digital “normal.” We are on our way but now is no time to put our investments, workforce initiatives and innovation strategies on cruise control.
To dive deeper into the key themes from this report and learn about the biggest issues impacting Canadian business, go to: home.kpmg/ca/ceooutlook
Ruth Todd is the regional managing partner for KPMG Canada’s offices in southwestern, northern and eastern Ontario and eastern Canada, and is also the office managing partner for KPMG in Hamilton and St. Catharines. With over 20 years’ experience in audit and advisory services, Ruth brings a practical and innovative approach to helping her clients further their goals and achieve success. Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/rtoddkpmg/.