It found 85% of the respondents, more than the global level (74%), and slightly up from last year’s New Zealand figure (84%) expressing concern over skills shortage.
According to them, the speed of technological change has increased slightly to 70% (from 68% last year, slightly higher than 61% of CEOs globally).
However, it has dropped from the second-highest concern last year to now rank fifth in New Zealand.
Concern about cyber threats and the lack of data security has seen one of the biggest jumps, with 77% of New Zealand CEOs viewing it as a top threat to business growth, compared to 66% last year. It remains steady at 61% for CEOs globally.
Over-regulation was noted by 74% of New Zealand respondents, and 79% of CEOs worldwide; this concern has risen for the fourth year in a row.
Other top concerns cited by New Zealand’s CEOs include exchange rate volatility (74%), and geopolitical uncertainty (54%) although less than global peers (74%).
New Zealand CEOs are once again looking to Australia (70%), China (60%) and the USA (47%) as the top three markets in the coming year.
The recent Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)Agreement marks a growing movement towards regional trading blocs. This is highlighted by only 23% of New Zealand CEOs saying that the world is moving towards a single global marketplace (as opposed to regional trading blocs at 77%).
The respondents also cited geopolitical uncertainty at 51% (although less than global peers at 74%) and new entrants to markets 68% (higher than 57% globally).
For CEOs worldwide, other notable concerns include fiscal deficits and debt burdens (72%), increasing taxes (70%), as well as social instability (60%) and shifting consumer patterns (60%).
Advances in technology
About 85% of CEOs in New Zealand expect technological advances to be the most significant global trend to influence stakeholder expectations within their sector over the next five years.
PwC New Zealand Chief Executive Bruce Hassall said that the respondents were also finding more ways to use technology to engage with their stakeholders, with data and analytics (72%) and social media communications and engagement (70%) rating the highest in terms of connecting technologies.
While 70% of the respondents continue to consider the speed of technology change as a business threat, cyber security is increasingly concerning for 77%, he said.
“Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for cyber threats. It is a journey towards a culture of security, not a solution in and of itself. It is a path that starts with the right mix of technologies, processes and people skills,” Mr Hassall said.
Within the context of wider stakeholders, New Zealand CEOs have identified a number of areas, which they said, businesses should be doing more to measure impact and value, including key risks (40%) and environmental impact (40%). They also said that businesses should do better in communicating organisation purpose and values (60%) and business strategy (57%).
About 36% of New Zealand respondents said that businesses should be doing more to measure the impact and value of innovation. Despite this only 55% said that they were making changes to improve societal value of research and development and innovation in response to changing stakeholder expectations (compared to 76% globally).
“A large part of the challenge lies in the adoption and use of technology. And it is not simply about going digital and moving everything online, but continuously generating, collecting, analysing and reporting information, with coverage that’s both deep and meaningful,” Mr Hassall said.
Nonfinancial indicators of success are being increasingly recognised, with 40% of New Zealand CEOs making major changes (and 55% making some change) to how they manage brand, marketing and communications.