According to the latest KPMG CEO Outlook 2018, Chief Executive Officers around the world are relatively bullish about the global economy as well as their overall outlook for their industry.

However, this optimism is tempered by a healthy dose of realism, with caution pervading about topline revenue and headcount growth. Many are also driving growth against a backdrop of pressures from digital transformation, geopolitical volatility and cyber security.

In Singapore, 77 percent of CEOs are confident about the global economy and 92 percent about their company prospects. Eighty-eight percent also see disruption as an opportunity, and cyber security was seen by 42 percent as their biggest threat to growth.

Singapore CEO Outlook

Unlike their global peers, many Singaporean CEOs prefer organic growth to investing in strategic alliances and ecosystems. Almost half do not believe organic growth will hamper their long term prospects.

Driving growth in an uncertain world will require constant innovation, investing in ecosystems as well as keeping an eye open for unexpected threats. – Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore

While personally ready to lead their company’s digital transformation, they also struggle to balance competing demands from concurrent digital and non-digital business transformation, and multiple stakeholder expectations.

Despite the advent of data analytics in recent years, most CEOs in Singapore, like their peers worldwide, also prefer to rely on instinct and experience over predictive analytics models.

This year, cyber threats have returned to being the top risk that many CEOs are worry about, no matter how well prepared. However, almost a third are not even sure what a cyber threat would even look like.

The sum of our findings is that CEOs are operating in an increasingly uncertain and changing global environment, and experiencing growing pains as the world transitions to a new normal.