A new survey released Thursday found that the top worry for most CEOs in 2023 is a recession or an economic downturn.
The Conference Boards’s C-suite outlook for 2023 showed that most CEO’s are bracing for a recession in 2023 and listed it as their top external concern, compared to last year when most CEOs listed it as their sixth top concern. Fifty-one percent of CEOs globally and 60 percent of U.S. CEOS said they expect a “tepid” year, with most of them not expecting an economic uptick until the end of 2023 or mid-2024.
Inflation and higher borrowing costs are top concerns for CEOs, with most of CEOs worldwide and in the U.S. listing their second top external concern as inflation. CEO’s citing high borrowing costs surged for the 2023 survey, with U.S. CEOs ranking it as the fourth external concern in 2023, compared to them listing in as 25th in 2022.
The economic concerns of COVID-19 are not listed as the top external worries for most CEOs in 2023, with U.S. CEOs ranking it as their 18th worry compared to their fourth worry last year. CEOs in China and Japan still list it as a top concern, ranking it as the first and second concerns, respectively.
CEOs in Europe and China are concerned about negative economic impacts the war in Ukraine will have in 2023, with European CEOs ranking it as their fourth top external concern. In comparison, U.S. CEOs rank it as their 18th concern for 2023.
Few U.S. CEOs plan to expand or decrease remote work in 2023, with five percent planning to expand it and three percent planning to reduce it, according to the survey.
Even as most CEOs expect a recession in 2023, recruiting talent remains a top priority for CEOs worldwide. For U.S. CEOs, finding and recruiting talent is their second top focus in 2023. The survey also found that despite an economic slowdown, CEOs do not expect it to affect their sustainability spending.
The World Bank warned Tuesday that new shocks to the economy, like high inflation and the war in Ukraine could trigger a global recession in 2023. could Inflation decreased 7.1 percent in November to 6.5 percent in December in the U.S., according to the consumer price index that was released Thursday.
The Conference Board survey was conducted between mid-November and mid-December 2022, with 1,131 C-suite executives, including 670 CEOs across the globe, according to the website.