The UK’s chief executives are more confident about growth this year than their counterparts in the rest of Europe, while the US stands out among developed nations.
That is according to an annual survey of bosses that found that 39 per cent of UK bosses said they were “very confident” about growth prospects in 2015, up from 27 per cent a year ago.
This compares to 35 per cent in Spain and Germany, 23 per cent in France and 20 per cent in Italy. In the US, the figure was 46 per cent.
India leads the so-called Brics – Brazil, Russia, India and China – with 62 per cent of company chiefs very confident about 2015 growth. This compares to China’s 36 per cent, Brazil’s 30 per cent and Russia’s 16 per cent.
Russian chief execs have in fact gone from being the most optimistic in 2014 to the least optimistic in 2015. Other oil exporters have seen a significant drop in confidence.
Only 22 per cent of Venezuelan chief execs reported being very confident about 2015, according to the survey released yesterday by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), on the eve of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.
The International Monetary Fund yesterday downgraded growth for the Eurozone, while the UK managed to steer clear of any revisions to its growth forecast of 2.7 per cent for this year.
When asked which country could be the most important for UK company growth in 2015, 48 per cent of UK chief execs said the US, followed by Germany’s 41 per cent and China’s 26 per cent.
However, a skills shortage remains a concern. The number of chief execs concerned about the availability of key skills jumped to 84 per cent this year from 64 per cent in 2014.
Research released yesterday by recruiters Robert Half echoed the finding that skills were short in the professional sector – 91 per cent of human resources leaders say it is a challenging environment to find skilled professional-level employees.
The professional sector covers lawyers, accountants, engineers and generally any career path that requires a degree.