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Biggest CEO concerns revealed

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The availability of key skills and expertise is the foremost business threat for ASEAN CEOs.

Findings from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 17th Annual Global CEO survey revealed 90% of ASEAN CEOs are concerned about the amount of fundamental talent available to them.

According to the report, which surveyed 1,344 respondents in 68 countries in Q3 2013, this figure is the highest in the world.

“While interest in Southeast Asia continues to develop, it must be matched by available key talent, lest the growth might not reach its full potential,” Alywin Teh, Singapore consulting leader at PwC Southeast Asia Consulting, said.

“Moreover, with 65% of ASEAN CEOs indicating that they plan to boost headcount, the attraction, development and retention of talent in the region is essential to successful growth in the region.”

Other top concerns included rising labour costs in high-growth markets (80%), as well as high and volatile raw materials prices, and bribery and corruption – both coming in at 68%.

When it came to businesses’ top potential economic and policy threats, ASEAN leaders cited exchange rate volatility (79%), continued slow or negative growth in developed economies (77%), over-regulation (77%), slowdown in high-growth markets (75%), and government response to fiscal deficit and debt burden (75%) among others.

However, despite these pressing concerns, regional viewpoints on the economy continued to slant upward, with only 6% of ASEAN CEOs believing the global economy will decline in the coming year.

Slightly less than half (48%) of regional bosses anticipated it will stay the same, while 45% expected an improvement in the economy.

“For the future, ASEAN CEOs tell us they expect three major global trends – technological advances, demographic shifts and resource scarcity and climate change – will have a major impact on the future of their businesses,” Yeoh Oon Jin, executive chairman of PwC Singapore, said.

“Finding ways of turning these global trends to their advantage will be the key to future success.”

ASEAN CEOs also named China (41%), Indonesia (24%) and India (21%) as the countries most important to them for their growth in the next 12 months.

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