Next generation business leaders radically optimistic

21 Jun '16
5 min read
Courtesy: PWC
Courtesy: PWC

Next generation leaders are more optimistic than CEOs about economic growth, but more pessimistic about cybersecurity, education and trust in business.

These are some of the key findings from a new report by PwC in collaboration with AIESEC, one of the world's leading international student organisations, that contrasts current and next generation leaders views on growth, education, technology and business responsibilities.

The research compares the results from PwC's Annual Global CEO Survey with the views of young AIESEC leaders and examines where they agree and disagree, what the implications are for companies looking to attract the best young talent and what today's CEOs can learn from those who will most likely succeed them.

One of the most eye-catching findings from the AIESEC results is the degree of confidence these young leaders have. For instance, 60 per cent believe economic growth will improve over the next 12 months, compared to only 27 per cent of CEOs. This might be the optimism of youth, but could also reflect a more profound insight into trends like the digital revolution, where the younger generation sees opportunity, and the previous ones costs and risk.

While they are more optimistic than CEOs in many respects, AIESEC respondents also believe that organisations should be more concerned about some of the threats they face than CEOs typically are.

An overwhelming 86 per cent of AIESEC respondents say companies should be worried about cybercrime, while only 61 per cent of CEOs are concerned about this

Eighty five per cent of AIESEC respondents see a threat in shifts in consumer behaviour, as against 60 per cent of CEOs Eighty three per cent cite a lack of public trust in business, compared to 55 per cent of CEOs.

There's also a clear difference in how the two groups perceive risk. Reflecting the struggle many business leaders face in shifting from a short term to long term outlook, CEOs ranked their top three concerns as over-regulation, geopolitical uncertainty, and exchange rate volatility. By contrast, AIESEC respondents took a more long term view, believing CEOs should be more concerned about longer term issues of social instability, climate change and environmental damage, and unemployment.

Both generations agree that business success in the 21st century will be defined by more than just financial profit. However AIESEC respondents believe businesses today are still mainly focused on shareholder value, despite CEOs progress and future aspirations to connect more strongly with wider stakeholders.

Underlining this,

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