Booming optimism about the global economy is driving UK CEO confidence

UK chief executives are optimistic about global economic growth prospects and their bullish attitude is driving business confidence, according to new research.

Though the final shape of Brexit is as-yet undecided, PwC's annual survey of business chiefs reveals 96 per cent of UK bosses expect their revenue to increase over the next three years – a higher proportion than the 91 per cent of their global counterparts.

The number of UK CEOs expecting the global economy to improve over the coming year has doubled to 36 per cent.

Read more: Business confidence falters amid lengthy Brexit negotiations

"Robust confidence levels among UK CEOs points to resilience in uncertain times, but this is tempered by a big dose of realism about the challenges ahead," said PwC's chairman and senior partner Kevin Ellis.

"Brexit uncertainty, regulation, availability of skills and cyber are key concerns but business leaders remain confident they can navigate through them."

A weighty 88 per cent of UK business leaders are optimistic about their organisation's growth over the more pressing next 12 months – slightly more than the 87 per cent of their global counterparts but marginally down from the 89 per cent who said the same in 2017.

Read more:Businesses feel confident in their future but consumer confidence slumps to the low recorded post-Brexit vote

Not an easy road ahead

Yet employment prospects are looking a little weaker, as the share of CEOs expecting to reduce headcount rose from 10 to 15 per cent and those expecting to increase staffing levels sank from 63 to 54 per cent.

Both UK and global business leaders agreed that geopolitical uncertainty and over-regulation were the top two economic or policy threats to growth, while cyber-security and the availability of talent remained the biggest business concerns in the UK.

More than two thirds of CEOs agreed that emerging technology such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotics would disrupt their business over the next five years, and most businesses surveyed were trying to attract people with digital skills.

Read more: Business group warns on UK’s digital skills gap

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