Skip to main content

Conference Board Survey: CEOs say business growth critical challenge


New York City -- A report released Tuesday by The Conference Board found that the top concern facing CEOs across the globe is business growth.

The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2011 polled more than 700 CEOs, presidents and chairmen from across geographies and industries regarding the most pressing issues they face in today’s business environment.

“The global CEO consensus about 2011 suggests that growing one’s business is the key to success,” said Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board. “Now more than ever, business leaders are turning to new ideas, products and markets to fuel growth, drive innovation, and remain competitive on the global stage.”

Following growth, the next four most highly ranked challenges on the global level include talent, cost optimization, innovation and government regulation. After two years of the global economic crisis, talent has re-emerged as a top challenge. CEOs selected the internally focused actions of improving leadership development/grow talent internally, enhancing the effectiveness of the senior team, providing employee training and development and improving leadership succession as the key strategies to address talent challenges, ahead of hiring more talent in the open market.

By region, in the United States, CEOs said government regulation is the most critical challenge they face, second to business growth. CEOs are viewing the growing degree of regulation as both an obstruction for growth and an incentive to force innovation and create opportunity.

European CEOs cited cost optimization as the key issue, second to growth, amid generally slower emergence from the global recession and structural issues surrounding markets and labor.

Among Asian CEOs, the most critical challenge they said they face is talent -- attracting it, retaining it and rewarding it - in a time of rapid economic development and change.

“In the 2010 survey, it was clear that the focus of CEOs had moved from crisis reaction to preparations for recovery,” said Bart van Ark, The Conference Board chief economist. “This year, we see an even further concern for driving business growth after years of scaling back and, in some cases, focusing on survival during the global recession.”

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds