Mazars C-suite barometer: outlook 2024 - building global ambition

Our annual C-suite barometer gathers the views of leading executives from all over the world. With insights from around 800 executives across 30 countries, we uncover the strategic priorities on the C-suite’s agenda and the market trends and transformations expected to impact businesses in the years ahead. Our latest study reveals that 2024 is set to be a bounce forward year: a year of increasing investments to transform businesses and support growth ambitions.

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Optimism is on the up

This year’s global C-suite barometer indicates a business world optimistic for the future, confident about growth and ready to take on the challenges ahead.  94% leaders have a positive outlook for growth, 89% anticipate increased revenue and 66% are increasing investments to support transformation and growth ambitions.

Confidence in tackling the challenges ahead 

While leaders seek to shape a positive future for their businesses, they can’t take their eye off the big external trends all organisations will need to navigate:  

  • Economic trends (including inflation and cost of living): 37%
  • Energy prices: 33%
  • Emergence of new technologies: 33%

Businesses feel they are ready to manage these trends and our Confidence Index shows an average of 44% “very confident”.  Leaders are particularly confident managing new technologies (87%).

Investing for growth  

Along with revenues, optimism and confidence, planned investment also rebounds this year with our Investment Index (percent of businesses planning to increase investment, averaged across 24 activities) moving up to 66%.  

Topping the C-suite agenda 

Looking ahead, leaders see enormous potential to transform their businesses, with technology topping the list of strategic priorities once again. Alongside this, leaders are equally focused on international expansion, sustainability and talent strategies. 

  • 32% Technology transformation remains the biggest priority for the coming 3-5 years. 
  • 25% International expansion appears in the top 3 strategic priorities for the first time. 
  • 25% New or revised sustainability strategies remain high on the agenda 
  • 25% Talent attraction and retention remains a key focus

Transformation in a digital world 

C-suite executives remain invested on the technological advances that will transform business opportunities and establish more robust operations. As with all innovations, there are considerations around the level of investment needed, and ethical responsibilities that come with new technologies, but 87% of leaders are confident in preparing for the tech trends that will deliver long-term solutions.

The rise in international growth as a strategic priority 

Businesses are approaching 2024 with international expansion front of mind. Leaders are seriously assessing opportunities to expand internationally and the regions of the world most attractive to deliver their plans.   

Recognising greater sustainability commitments

Sustainability responsibilities are rising as the business community continues to expand around the globe and regulation becomes increasingly complex. C-suite executives are committed to meeting this challenge with most organisations now producing a report (71%) and 72% factoring this into budget planning. Less-prioritised areas of reporting, including human rights, are also now gaining attention and budgets are increasing to support the need for greater in-house expertise.  

The new ‘laws’ of talent attraction

Investing in people means more than a benefits package and generous salary. Competition for talent is set to continue and 76% of leaders are prioritising new or revised strategies that offer more learning, training and development opportunities to retain and attract the best people that will contribute to the long-term growth of their business. 

Based on research conducted in Q4 of 2023, the Mazars C-suite barometer captures the views from around 800 executives in over 30 countries around the world to better understand the opportunities in the year ahead and the challenges they are facing in the future.

"The considerable optimism and confidence expressed by our survey participants offer valuable insights into the anticipated trajectory of businesses this year. Despite facing volatility, the C-suite has proven its resilience and adaptability, allowing for ongoing investments and business transformations despite the challenges and opportunities presented by emerging technologies, expansion initiatives, and ESG considerations. This positions their enterprises for sustainable growth. While tough decisions remain inevitable in what could be a pivotal year for businesses, there's a noticeable uplift in awareness and assurance regarding the crucial areas that will underpin sustainable economic progress on a global scale."  

Christopher Cicutto, Partner

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Mazars C-suite barometer - outlook 2024 - global report