Credit By: Arabian Business
In the latest edition of the KPMG UAE CEO Outlook report, UAE CEOs display confidence in their businesses’ growth prospects, emphasizing key investment priorities in AI and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). The report surveyed 1,325 CEOs worldwide, including UAE business leaders, providing insights into their perspectives on technology adoption, sustainability, and business outlook.
1. AI Investment Priorities and Return Expectations
56% of UAE CEOs consider AI technology a top investment priority, strongly emphasizing leveraging AI for business competitiveness.
Return on Investment Expectations:
While AI is a priority, most CEOs don’t expect significant returns on their AI investments for three to seven years, highlighting a long-term strategic perspective in adopting and implementing AI technologies.
Many CEOs express concerns about the lack of confidence in AI regulations, perceiving potential impacts on their organizations’ success. The UAE Government’s initiative in appointing the UAE Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Council is acknowledged as addressing regulatory concerns in the AI space.
2. ESG as a Growing Business Agenda
64% of UAE CEOs fully embed ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) as a strategic component in their business operations, showcasing a heightened focus on sustainability.
While the UAE is aligned with global ESG trends, global peers have a slightly higher integration rate at 69%.
88% of CEOs in the UAE expect it will be at least three years before they see significant returns on their ESG investments, indicating a recognition of the long-term nature of ESG initiatives.
3. Strong Earnings and Growth Prospects
88% of local CEOs report solid earnings and growth prospects in 2023, with increased revenue compared to the previous year.
84% anticipate their businesses to grow by more than 2.5% over the next three years, demonstrating a positive outlook on future growth despite global challenges.
Despite inflation and geopolitical pressures, 40% of UAE CEOs express a high appetite for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), highlighting a strategic approach to business expansion.
4. Leadership Style and Future Work Trends
72% of UAE CEOs expect employees to return to the office full-time, reflecting a preference for a more collaborative leadership style.
Only 20% envision a hybrid working model, and 8% plan to allow fully remote work, emphasizing a belief in shared management and operational responsibilities for success.
60% of local leaders indicate they are either neutral or not likely to reward in-person workers, suggesting that on-site work is perceived as an expectation rather than an incentive.
The KPMG CEO Outlook report reflects the UAE CEOs’ optimistic outlook on business growth, strategic investment priorities in AI and ESG, and a collaborative leadership approach. The findings underscore a commitment to long-term sustainability and digital transformation to drive business success.
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