Canadian Manufacturing

KPMG survey reveals Canadian CEOs far more confident about domestic economy

Climate change risk remains top of mind as the 'S' in ESG and corporate purpose grow in prominence.

March 23, 2021  by CM Staff

TORONTO — A year and counting into the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEOs of some of the country’s biggest publicly traded companies are far more confident in Canada’s economic growth prospects than they were six months ago, finds KPMG’s recent Global CEO Outlook pulse survey.

Their level of confidence in the three-year growth prospects for the Canadian economy has risen to 81 per cent, up sharply from 48 per cent only six months ago when companies were still adapting to public health and safety lockdown restrictions, coping with workplace challenges and supply chain interruptions, and rapidly deploying digital tools to better connect with their employees and customers.

“We have seen tremendous resiliency and ingenuity in the business community throughout this crisis,” says Elio Luongo, President and Senior Partner, KPMG in Canada. “While the economy is not yet back where we need it to be, recent reports on job and GDP growth indicate a full rebound may come earlier than expected. This would especially be good news for the small- and medium-sized enterprise business owners who have been hit the hardest.”

While confidence is Canada has grown, many more have their doubts about the global economy, something they share with their global peers. The prospects for the global economy are nearly 20 points lower than at any point since 2017 (42 per cent versus 68 per cent in January 2020).

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As for corporate earnings, 86 per cent of Canadian CEOs remain confident in the three-year growth prospects, predicting per annum earnings growth of 2.5 per cent. That’s up slightly from 84 per cent six months ago.

A KPMG in Canada poll of over 4,000 Canadians earlier this year revealed that nine in 10 Canadians want the country to adopt a ‘Canada-first’ mindset to get the economy moving again, including creating incentives to ‘buy Canadian’ and corporate Canada allocating a share of all their contracts to small- and medium-sized Canadian businesses.

Two in five (43 per cent) CEOs in Canada say the pandemic “forever changed” their business (22 per cent globally). Many are reconsidering their organization’s physical footprint, nearly half embracing flexible workplace options, and nearly two-thirds continuing to build on their use of digital collaboration and communication tools.


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