CEOs are bullish about the economic prospects for the year ahead, with 91% of Irish CEOs expecting the country's economic growth to improve this year. This optimism is also reflected in their projections for their own businesses, with 94% confident about the prospects for revenue growth in the next 12 months. At the same time, 75% of global CEOs expect economic growth in their country to improve in the year ahead, and 96% are confident about the prospects for revenue growth in their own business.
In terms of global economic growth, 77% of global respondents and 91% of Irish respondents expect the global economy to grow in 2022.
While this high degree of optimism reflects the strength and resilience of the global economy and the ability of CEOs to manage through uncertainty, it is also consistent with the IMF's projection that global GDP will grow 4.9% in 2022. In Ireland, meanwhile, the Central Bank of Ireland projects that modified domestic demand will grow by 7.1% in 2022 with further growth of 5.2% to follow in 2023.
To achieve the anticipated revenue growth in the next 12 months, Irish CEOs will focus on organic growth (77%), operational efficiencies (74%) and new products or services (74%). Almost four in ten (38%) plan to pursue new mergers and acquisitions, up from 21% in 2019, while 42% of respondents expect to form a new strategic alliance or joint venture, up from 29% in 2019.
And despite ongoing Brexit-related issues, 52% of Irish CEOs view the UK as the most important territory for their companies' growth prospects—up from 45% in 2021—followed by the US (43%) and Germany (37%).
While optimism is the dominant trend, 15% of global CEOs expressed a more tepid outlook – more than double the Irish figure of 6%. This is most apparent in the global automotive (46%) and hospitality and leisure sectors (44%), which are grappling with semiconductor shortages and the lingering effects of the pandemic on travel respectively.