More good news for Brexit Britain Over a third of US CEOs put the UK in their top three priority economies — up 76% on last year

The UK is on a roll at the moment and I am not going to stop for breath in telling you more Brexit good news.

The 25th annual CEO survey by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) of almost 4,500 CEOs in 89 countries, was conducted in October and November last year looking towards business growth in 2022 — and found the UK is a more important prospect for CEOs worldwide.

For US CEOs, the UK was the top choice at 37% — a 16 point jump (and increase of 76%) from 21% in the last survey for 2021 — overtaking China on 26% and Germany on 24%.

Echoing attitudes in North America, the US has also become a more attractive investment proposition to UK CEOs with over half (54%) viewing the US as an important growth target, rising ten points up from 44% in 2021 and 2020. Germany was second at 32% for UK CEOs.

The UK is coming up fast and poised to overtake Germany for third-most attractive growth economy

For CEOs around the world, 41% would prioritise the US for their company’s business growth, followed by China at 27% and Germany third at 18% — with the UK remaining fourth but closing the gap by 6 points and now only one point behind. An impressive 17% of CEOs globally selected the UK as one of their top three growth targets, up from 11% in 2021 and 9% in autumn 2019.

Commenting about the 2022 survey Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC said:

“It’s not hard to see why US businesses have their sights on the UK. Aside from long standing draws such as our trusted legal and business environment, certain factors make us ripe for investment now. Successful vaccine roll-out and significant government funding have given us a head start on recovery. Meanwhile our listed assets represent good value, at a time when many investors have full war chests to spend on resilient businesses. The challenge and opportunity is to attract the right investments and partnerships to deliver sustainable growth across the UK.”

Commenting on attitudes of UK CEOs Kevin Ellis said:

“…business leaders are confident the economy is on an upward trajectory. This optimism is reflected in headcount plans — three in four UK CEOs planning to hire more people is a big vote of confidence.”

None of your doomsday scaremongering there — just a plain business view that the UK is an attractive place to do business and invest. That surely needs to be the focus of more business leaders — and the media.

…And British CEOs are brimming with confidence too about the UK’s prospects

Optimism about the global economy among UK CEOs is particularly high with 82% anticipating it will improve during the year ahead — up from 77% last year. Moreover, 18% of UK CEOs think the global economy will improve significantly, compared with only 11% of global CEOs.

And in the top four surveyed economies British attitudes contrast with business leaders in the US, China, and Germany who are all more pessimistic than they were a year ago. So much for Brexit being an obstacle to doing business — it certainly has not dampened optimism.

With regard to attitudes towards the UK economy, 73% of UK CEOs believe conditions will improve in the next 12 months. Regarding employment headcount, three in four (75%) CEOs plan to increase the number of people they employ — an impressive 16 point rise on last year’s 58%.

Anyone in business can tell you that optimism is a key factor in helping people to make investment decisions and so it is great news that the 2022 PwC CEO survey finds that the UK is the most favoured nation of US CEOs for their future plans going into this year and that globally the UK has improved 6 points amongst CEOs to be just one point behind third-placed Germany.

Again, you will not find this news on the BBC, Sky News or ITV. One of the reasons the UK is poor at communicating good news is that business news tends to only make the general news pages if it is bad news such as job losses. The good news, where business people are expressing optimism, are far less likely to attract coverage unless they are localised investment announcements. The British public could be forgiven for thinking business is pessimistic and depressed.

The PwC 25th annual worldwide CEO survey shows the contrary.

[ Sources: PwC ]

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Sir Ron Harrison

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What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.

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