Time for action: C-Suite Barometer

Time for action: C-Suite Barometer

Mazars, a leading international audit, tax and advisory firm, surveyed over 1,000 executives from 39 countries for our annual C-Suite Barometer.

We found a sense of confidence and resilience: with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, rising inflation and the attack on Ukraine, these are qualities that are likely to be tested once again this year.

Key areas of the report include:

  • Tech and sustainability transformations ahead
  • Cybersecurity
  • Confidence and resilience
  • ESG
  • Leadership skills

Technology and sustainability top the list

Our research shows leaders expect to transform their businesses, with technology and sustainability-related transformations being the most likely:

  • 68% expect their businesses to go through a technology transformation in the next three to five years
  • 62% of businesses consider a transformation in their sustainability strategy in the coming three to five years likely

Confidence and resilience

At the end of 2021, business leaders reported a high level of confidence in responding to the trends and transformations identified.

Businesses had to dig deep and show resilience over the past two years: with the impact of the pandemic and ongoing and the shocking events in Europe, this resilience will be needed again. Our research suggests those that survived are feeling stronger for it.

  • 88% of companies are confident they have the resilience to weather a crisis
  • 87% of leaders are confident their business can tackle the trends affecting them – an increase of 8 percentage points over last year

C-suite pulse on cyber risks

Most leaders believe cyber risks have increased over the past year and 35% expect a significant breach within the next year. Yet, 68% remain confident their data is completely protected, including 80% in North America.

The perceived increase in cybersecurity risks is highest among executives in North America and Europe: 66% and 64%, respectively, say the risk level has increased in the past year vs. 40% in Latin America and 44% in Central and Eastern Europe.

In the face of increasing cyber risks:

  • 54% of respondents believe the cyber risk to their organization has increased over the past 12 months
  • 35% think a significant data breach in the next 12 months is likely
  • 68% are confident their data is completely protected. A further 29% say their data is partially protected

ESG now firmly on the C-suite agenda

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters are a clear priority for the C-suite: they expect to transform their sustainability strategy. Most – particularly large businesses – say COVID-19 sharpened their focus on ESG; three-quarters plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives and most have made public commitments on a range of ESG issues.

  • 62% of businesses consider a transformation in their sustainability strategy in the coming three to five years likely – an 18-point increase vs. 2020
  • 58% say COVID-19 has sharpened their focus on ESG. In large companies ($1bn+ revenue), 70% say this has increased
  • 75% plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives over the next 12 months – a 27-point increase
  • 91% of businesses are confident they can respond to expectations for governance, ethics and social responsibility

Leadership skills: from strategy to action

Do organizations have the leadership skills they need to achieve their aspirations?

Our study shows that the C-suite believe they have the skills they need: 88% say they have either all (40%) or most (48%) of the skills they need to weather the next three to five years.

  • 88% of respondents believe their leadership team has the skills their organization needs for the next three to five years
  • 63% of executives say that COVID-19 has changed the future leadership styles their organization needs

C-Suite Barometer 2021

The sense of confidence and resilience that comes through is undoubtedly positive. It’s built on the factors outlined earlier, as well as on the financial environment at the end of 2021, such as relatively cheap investment funding. As we look ahead, the resilience businesses have shown over the past two years is likely to be needed once more.

Competition for talent has intensified as normality returns, particularly as people’s expectations for how businesses should behave change. There is an opportunity to build competitive advantage for businesses that can demonstrate their values and their vision, and who can develop, recruit and empower their people with the right skills.

Ultimately, the message of this year’s C-Suite Barometer is one of positivity. C-suite leaders have shown the confidence and resilience to survive and thrive: qualities that are likely to be tested once again in 2022. Those that win in the marketplace, will be those who are best able to maintain that positivity and turn it into action over the next 12 months.

At Mazars, we help businesses grow for the long-term. Whether that’s through audit and advisory services, or corporate transactions, supporting our clients as they build businesses that are more resilient, more sustainable and, ultimately, more successful.

Learn how Mazars can help your business grow for the long-term, and download the report at mazars.us.