New Zealand chief executives concerned about technological pace

PwC New Zealand chief executive Mark Averill. Photo / Supplied
PwC New Zealand chief executive Mark Averill. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change and shortage of key skills, PwC's 20th annual survey has revealed.

A total of 84 per cent of CEOs said they are worried about the availability of key skills in New Zealand with more than half planning on recruiting and increasing their headcount.

An equal 84 per cent said they are concerned by the speed of technological change occurring in the world, which is reflective of the apprehension over key skills.

"We've seen a lot of big changes in the business world in the 20 years we've run the CEO survey, but more so over the last few years and New Zealand companies definitely face more challenges.

"In NZ specifically, a lot of our concerns stem from uncertain economic and political times, coupled with the rapid changes that come from advances in technology," PwC chief executive and senior partner Mark Averill said.

"Technology has had a massive impact on the speed at which we operate, especially when it comes to the global market."

Chief executives remain confident about revenue growth with 97 per cent of positive about the next three years, and 91 per cent believing they will hit growth targets for the next 12 months.

Kiwi chief executives are ahead of their overseas counterparts with 72 per cent seeing new opportunities in partnering with other firms compared with 48 per cent globally. Kiwis are also more interested in working with entrepreneurs and start-ups with 41 per cent saying they are willing, compared with 28 per cent globally.

Australia is still seen as a top contender to help New Zealand business grow, but the US has edged up to share the number one spot at 72 per cent. China rounds out the top three at 63 per cent.

"The Pacific-first mindset certainly is good for our future growth. Since our first CEO survey, China has gone from our eighth-largest trading partner to our second-largest, with exports nearly quadrupling," Averill said.

"Here in New Zealand, globalisation has also changed the demographics of our country. A recent World Migration report found that Auckland is more ethnically diverse than New York, Sydney and London," he said.

"It's a huge opportunity for our companies, not just as a way to develop that diversity of thought, but also to create new growth opportunities and business connections across the Pacific region."

Cyber-security tops the highest concern for the second time, with 94 per cent of chief executives feeling that cyber breaches will negatively affect trust in their industry, however, 97 per cent of respondents said their companies are actively addressing security risks.

- NZ Herald

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