This week sees the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Amongst the fondue, cheese and chocolate, their is important work to be done by the great and the good in Business and Government to take advantage of rising business confidence as evidenced by the Business Confidence Survey from Global Accounting Firm PWC.
PWC interviewed 1,201 CEO’s from 69 countries over the last three months of 2010. The headline finding from the survey evidence that business confidence has returned to levels not seen since before the economic crisis that started to engulf the world in 2007. 48% of those surveyed are “very confident” their business will grow in 2011, an increase of 30% on the same period in 2009. Such confidence levels have not been seen since January 2007 (when they sat at 52%).
Yet more encouraging is the fact that this confidence is not driven by any specific region. Confidence levels are up across the globe. Unsurprisingly, the most bullish of those polled were to be found in India and China followed by the perhaps less obvious Thailand, Columbia and Paraguay. The least confident were found to be business leaders in Western Europe.
The exception to this rule came from Austria and in particular Germany, where a staggering 80% of CEO’s polled were “very confident”as to the performance of their business. What is clear from the survey is that this confidence is driven by a belief in the growth of the global economy as opposed to more localised markets. A presence in emerging markets is essential for sustained success.
So what does all this mean for jobs? More good news in so much as just over half of those polled plan to hire new staff in 2011, with just 16% expecting to cut headcount. This is up from 39% on the prior year.
Just where those jobs will be created is the big shift and it keeps shifting. Increased skill levels globally mean that global business can select talent in the region that best meets its customer need. The war for talent is truly global. Those countries that offer high standards of education and develop rich pools of talent, that create the conditions to encourage inward investment, that retain flexibility of labour and offer working terms and conditions that protect employees and give them the freedom to flourish will win.
Employers know this. At no other time in history has business been so mobile, so global. Governments that are experiencing rising unemployment must get out from behind the fondue at Davos and listen to those Business Leaders, engage with them, debate with them. Those that don’t will lose out, those that do will enjoy economic prosperity for years to come.
So much of business and economic growth is about confidence. That confidence is there. Time to seize it.