Welcome to our eighth annual KPMG CEO Outlook.
Our annual CEO Outlook has taken the pulse of Irish and global CEOs for the past eight years. It provides a unique insight into the mindset and strategies of CEOs in Ireland and how they compare with their peers worldwide.
Measuring CEO confidence and expectations about both the economy and their own organisations provides a valuable understanding of business sentiment at home and abroad.
I’m struck by the measured but persistent optimism of Irish business leaders in the face of often significant challenges. It demonstrates their resilience and that of the businesses they lead.
Our research also considers the far reaching business and ethical implications of AI and, as ESG evolves to include greater regulation, how CEOs see the impact and benefit of ESG in their organisations.
Our report reflects on how CEOs envisage the future of work. In the face of rapid technological developments and intense competition, the importance of talented, committed people remains a constant feature of our research and indeed reflects our own purpose and priorities at KPMG.
I’d like to thank all of the CEOs in Ireland and overseas who took the time to share their points of view with us.
It is both a challenging and exciting time to be in business in Ireland. We hope you find our insights a valuable resource in helping inform your own decision making and leadership perspectives.
At a glance
Irish CEO confidence in national economy up year on year but with inflation concerns.
The Irish Economy
87 percent of CEOs are confident in 3 year prospects for local economy up from 76 percent in 2022.
Irish CEOs (60 percent) are less optimistic about the world economy than their global peers (73 percent).
70 percent of Irish CEOs expect to increase headcount in next 3 years compared with 81 percent worldwide.
CEOs report an increased level of complexity fuelled by geopolitics and technology.
77 percent believe geopolitics will negatively impact their businesses prosperity.
Irish CEOs say the number one threat to growth is new/disruptive technology - up from number four in 2022.
43 percent of Irish CEOs say cyber-crime is a threat to company prosperity and only 40 percent are ready for a cyber attack.
Emerging tech is becoming a top operational priority to achieve growth.
Irish CEOs consider digitisation and connectivity a higher priority in 2023 (27 percent) vs 2022 (20 percent).
Generative AI is a top investment for business say 73 percent of Irish CEOs v’s global average of 70 percent.
Irish CEOs (57 percent) say returns on AI investment will take more than 5 years where only 40 percent say it will take 3- 5 years.
CEOs everywhere continue to prioritise talent.
People vs machine
Two-thirds (66 percent) of Irish CEOs favour an emphasis on skills investment with a third (33 percent) favouring new tech.
72 percent of Irish CEOs say the greatest barrier to progress on diversity is implementing change at senior leadership level.
Irish CEOs believe scrutiny of diversity performance will continue to increase - up from 52 percent in 2022 to 60 percent today.
ESG is here to stay despite new and emerging issues and threats.
Only 57 per cent of Irish CEOs say they have the capability and capacity to meet new ESG reporting standards.
Irish CEOs take ESG seriously with over half (53 percent) seeing ESG as a means to value creation.
43 percent of Irish CEOs see the biggest impact of ESG is in attracting the next generation of talent vs only 14 percent globally.
Queries? Get in touch
If you have any questions about our CEO Outlook report, its themes or their impact for your business, please contact Seamus Hand, Managing Partner.
We'd be delighted to hear from you.
About the KPMG 2023 CEO Outlook
This edition of the KPMG CEO Outlook was conducted with 1,325 CEOs between 15 August and 15 September 2023, provides unique insight into the mindset, strategies and planning tactics of CEOs.
All respondents have annual revenues over US$500M and one-third of the companies surveyed have more than US$10B in annual revenue. The survey included leaders from 13 markets (Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Northern Ireland, Spain, and US) and 11 key industry sectors (asset management, automotive, banking, consumer and retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications).
NOTE: Some figures may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.