Why we need adaptable talent

Michael RendellAuthor: Michael Rendell, Global HR consulting network leader

As parts of the global economy start to recover, we find ourselves in a business environment hampered by skills mismatches which are compounded by the multi-speed nature of the recovery.  Worldwide unemployment continues to rise while jobs go unfilled and demographic shifts alter the picture in much of the developed world. Half of all CEOs globally intend to increase their headcount over the next year, but 63% are worried about the availability of key skills curtailing their plans. A real paradox in a world teeming with more people than ever before. 

The capacity of a market to match supply and demand efficiently depends on the ability and willingness of employers and employees to adapt to changing circumstances and align skills with available opportunities. If this alignment is less than perfect, a mismatch occurs, optimum productivity can’t be reached and somebody (or everybody) is discontent.

In a fast-moving world, talent adaptability is critical. So what can employers, governments and individuals do to become more adaptable?

Adapt to survive infographic

Employers: Nurture, celebrate and embrace adaptable people

The organisations which will be the winners of tomorrow will need to be able to react quickly to an evolving business landscape and to innovate, innovate and innovate (and not be afraid to destroy and rebuild their business model repeatedly). Innovation is powered by diverse thinking and experiences so businesses need adaptable people.

There are two essential ingredients to adaptability. First, the ability of employers to look differently at sources of talent - investigating new geographies and sectors, as well as investing in existing employees by equipping them with the necessary skills and motivating them to adapt to meet new challenges.   Secondly, of course, this requires willing individuals who are prepared to embrace change and apply their skills somewhere new.

Employers need to cleverly balance internal mobility – developing and nurturing the adaptable people they already have – with external recruitment strategies that identify the skills they need from a wide range of sources.  Online professional networks give organisations access to a larger talent pool and, critically, access to passive candidates - those not actively looking for jobs.  More visibility, coupled with adaptable talent and broad-minded employers, creates better hiring.

Governments: Create the climate for adaptability
As nations look to support the vitality of their economies in an increasingly competitive global economic market, matching individuals’ skills with employers’ needs in a way that creates the most value for both – and for the economy as a whole – is crucial. Governments should play an active role in shaping a national mind-set that values, supports and nurtures adaptability. They need to use the levers at their disposal, such as tax incentives and immigration laws, and especially the education and training system. This is a long-term investment and one that governments must not subsume beneath short-term political goals.

Our recent 17th Annual Global CEO Survey found that although 41% of respondents feel that creating a skilled workforce should be a top priority for government, just 21% believe that their government has been effective in doing so. Talent adaptability drives more value for individuals, companies and national economies and, in my view, should be a key focus of government policy.

Individuals: Embrace adaptability in order to future-proof your career - don't try and predict the future; just be ready for whatever it brings
Individuals should also take a longer-term view of their careers and seek out work environments that will help them to be more adaptable in the future. Remaining open-minded about your career path and embracing change is key here.

And this isn’t something that only concerns the young. People at 40, for example, still need to plan for almost two-thirds of their working life. They need to be as adaptable today as they were on graduation – perhaps more so, given the difference between the skills they nurtured at the start of their career and those needed now.

The world won’t stand still – those who embrace adaptable talent are best placed to survive. Those who don’t may not.

Find out more in our new report, Adapt to Survive, which, for the first time, brings together the two of the most comprehensive sources of talent data in the world: the real-time behaviours drawn from LinkedIn’s 277 million members and employer information from PwC’s Saratoga database of people and performance metrics, which covers more than 2,600 employers across the globe. 


Michael is a partner with PwC in the UK and leads the Firm’s Global Human Resources Consulting practice. During his time with the firm, he’s had a variety of roles and client responsibilities – with a particular focus on reward and the deployment of talent globally.  Read Michael's biography here.


Are we doing enough to promote female leadership?

Dennis Nally photoAuthor: Dennis Nally, Chairman, PwC International Ltd.

This year’s Diversity Week was an important step forward for us at PwC as we look to develop diverse leadership throughout the global business. For the first time, all our firms across the world hosted a wide-scale series of inclusion events. As part of this, I engaged with employees in a live global social media ‘Jam’ to give them the chance to help shape our future Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

For business as a whole, Diversity Week couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment, given the current, timely focus within global companies on the lack of women in leadership. Belatedly, male-dominated executive boards are waking up to the realisation that closing this gender gap isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes smart business sense.

What's driving this, admittedly, slow march to more inclusive leadership? The opinions of accomplished female leaders like Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, and her recent book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, are certainly helping to drive the agenda forward.

My colleague, PwC US CEO, Bob Moritz, sat down with Sheryl Sandberg for a livestreamed chat about issues that PwC takes very seriously, including leadership accountability for diversity and an inclusive culture. PwC will partner again with Sandberg to take her message to college campuses all over the world as part of the publicly available Aspire to Lead programme. 

Sandberg’s message is so powerful because it speaks to the aspirations of a new generation of female professionals just starting their careers. These young women are more educated, socially mobile and globally connected than ever before and will be a potent force in reshaping the way we do business.   Creating the right environment for this burgeoning employee base to thrive is crucial for PwC. Half our workforce is female and, by 2016, almost 80% will be millennials.

Are companies creating the right environment to make the most of this talent? Not at the moment say young professionals. As our Next Generation Diversity: Developing tomorrow’s female leaders report found, 82% of the young females said that an employer’s policy of diversity, inclusion and equality was important when deciding which company to work for. Unfortunately, 55% felt that employers fail to deliver on their diversity talk.

So how are we doing? At PwC, we’re very committed to helping our people – with all of their varied backgrounds and experiences – build a rewarding career. We’re also proud of our record on encouraging executive diversity: today women make up more than 25% of our leadership teams in Canada, the UK and the US.

That said, it’s clear we need to do more. I need to do more. PwC and Opportunity Now recently interviewed 25,000 women between the ages of 28 and 40 in the UK. The results of Project 28-40 showed that CEOs and senior leaders, in particular, need to take the lead on women’s progression, moving this from a diversity initiative to a core business priority. I’m more than happy to pick up the baton.

Dennis Nally leads the global network of PwC firms. He has extensive experience serving large multinational clients in a variety of  industries, principally focusing on technology and life sciences. Dennis is also a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on issues affecting the professional services profession and the global capital markets. Read Dennis Nally's full biography.  

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The commandments of the Capable Company

Cesare MainardiAuthor: Cesare Mainardi, CEO of Strategy& 

Capable Companies have a powerful, almost religious, sense of identity, and they adhere to a set of firmly entrenched beliefs that distinguish them from their competitors.

1. Stay true to who you are
2. Shape what your customer needs
3. Translate the strategic into the everyday
4. Put your culture to work
5. Invest where your identity is

At first glance, these seem so obvious as to be self-evident—they’re almost cliché, they appear so regularly in company mission and values statements.  But, what my colleagues and I have discovered is that these are easy things to preach, but very hard things to practice. They sound good, but they feel wrong…as they run counter to habit and convention, and each requires active and often difficult choices.  The chart below sheds light on what I mean. 

What capable companies do differently
This simple recipe laid out in the right column distills 100 years of practical advice—the counsel we’ve provided to clients operating at both the top and bottom of their game in every industry since 1914 when Strategy&’s predecessor firm Booz & Company—and, effectively, the management consulting profession—was founded.  It also draws on the primary and secondary research we’ve conducted with dozens of companies across sectors and continents that have distinguished themselves as Capable Companies.

So, what is a Capable Company?  It’s a company that focuses its strategy around the following basic formula: 1) an inspiring expression of identity, 2) a compelling and viable customer value proposition (or ‘way to play’, as we call it); 3) a mutually reinforcing system of three to six critical capabilities, and 4) a fully aligned product and service mix.  In a Capable Company, everyone from the CEO to the summer intern understands who they are (identity), what they do (way to play), how they do it (capabilities system), and what they sell (product/service fit).  It’s therefore not surprising that Capable Companies consistently outperform their competitors in fulfilling customer needs and creating and capturing value over time…no matter the industry.

Again and again, in our client work and ongoing research, we hear the same lament: executives are overwhelmed with too many competing priorities.  In fact, less than half of the global leaders we’ve surveyed have confidence in their strategy, and two out of three admit they don't have the capabilities needed to execute it.

That’s a rather rousing vote of no confidence in the current approach to strategy setting.  And we believe it’s because the fundamental question guiding most strategy development today is wrong.  It’s not where should we go for growth…but who should we be?  What are the few things that we do incredibly well, better than anyone else—be it processes, people, systems, tools, organisation, or know-how or some combination thereof? Where’s our window of opportunity to turn the natural momentum of the market to our favour by being the best at what makes us great?

When you get the answer to that question right, you’re no longer chasing growth, you’re inviting it.  You’re a Capable Company with the right to win in the market you’ve chosen to target.


Cesare Mainardi is CEO of Strategy&, the newest member firm of the PwC network, and co-author of the book The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy


Contact Cesare Mainardi


Inspiring trust: Is there a better way?

Richard Sexton, PwC Author: Richard G. Sexton - Vice Chairman, Global Assurance

Across the world, the concept of business value is changing – and the focus of reporting is changing with it. As an array of accelerating megatrends put companies’ resilience, sustainability and business models to the test, preparers and users of corporate reporting are recognising the need for a broader view of value creation that goes beyond increased output and short-term financial returns.

Instead, sound business decisions – and the disclosures companies make around them – increasingly need to reflect accountability to a wider set of stakeholders and require a more holistic and integrated view of the outcomes and impacts of everything an organisation does.

PwC's Inspiring trust through insight - Evolution of reportingCorporate reporting – both internal and external – is evolving to reflect these shifts as I've shown in the diagram. Many leading organisations worldwide are already pushing back the boundaries by innovating and experimenting with more progressive reporting. Building stakeholder trust in their reporting during the transition is important, but also challenging.

Why? Because the existing assurance model – and the concepts underlying it – have their roots in the audit of financial statements, which is a mature, historical and financially-based reporting framework. And that model doesn’t always sit easily with reporting that’s broader, more forward-looking, more integrated, and – crucially – still evolving.

 So, what to do? I believe it’s time to think boldly about a new and different way to build trust in corporate reporting.

Information doesn’t have to be ‘hard’ to be trustworthy – but you do need to know how ‘soft’ it is, and where it’s come from.

So, what if, rather than providing a conclusion on how an organisation’s reporting measures against criteria, we turn the equation round – and instead provide insight that lets people look behind the numbers, so they can decide for themselves the degree of trust they’ll put in the information?

What might be the characteristics of such a model? Based on the application of informed professional judgment, we can envisage a model that's:

• Multi-dimensional – telling a story about the maturity of the organisation’s reporting across several dimensions;

• Information-rich yet simple – and made more accessible through a visual representation with clear commentary;

• Able to provide insight into what lies behind the numbers – not just whether the numbers are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – together with links, when available, to areas where traditional assurance has been obtained; and

• Capable of being applied consistently across different organisations.

All these characteristics point towards a model that’s accessible and understandable ‘at a glance’ – allowing it to remain simple and user-friendly, while being able to handle a vast array of different types of information. Essentially, this would support an organisation in being transparent about where it is on its reporting journey.

In our new thought piece, Inspiring trust through insight, we show how this model might work using the Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework. We believe this thinking is equally applicable to internal reporting: for example, it could be applied to management reporting on the Total Impact Measurement and Management (TIMM) dimensions, measuring an organisation’s social, environmental, tax and economic impacts.

One thing’s clear: corporate reporting is evolving to be broader, more forward-looking and more integrated. The assurance profession should support and accelerate this journey and I think the model we’ve developed shows a possible way forward.


Richard Sexton is Vice Chairman; Global Assurance, an appointment he took up on 1 July 2013. In this role, he focuses on further building the PwC network’s global assurance practice with particular emphasis of quality and regulatory matters, trust in the profession, and broader financial markets. Read Richard's full biography.



Sustaining business for the long term

Malcolm PrestonAuthor: Malcolm Preston, Global Sustainability Leader

When talking about sustainability, you’ll often hear me say, “We live in a world with a growing population, seeking a better lifestyle, on a planet with finite resources - many of which are rapidly running out.” This clearly has huge implications for business as well as the rest of the planet. From a business perspective, understanding how these changes could lead to a fundamental shift in strategic direction is a real challenge– and one which I’m not convinced current business models are equipped to support.

In the 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, we asked CEOs to name the megatrends they thought would transform their business most in the next five years. 60% of CEOs cited demographic shifts in their top three, with resource scarcity and climate change (46%) and urbanisation (40%) also named. These major 'new' transformative trends are clearly on the CEO agenda – and rightly so. Supplies of gold and silver are predicted to run out within 11 years and the number of city dwellers is forecast to rise by 72% by the end of this century. And with the population due to hit eight billion by 2025, there’ll be a real difference in the median age - and therefore skills availability (both in quality and distribution) - around the world. It’ll be 43 in Europe, 38 in China and just 20 in Africa!


PwC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey - transformative trends image
Today, business uses models and dashboards that are largely retrospective, with only the faintest nod to the future. Meanwhile, the megatrends playing out around us represent risks and challenges for business that aren’t necessarily actively discussed by the Board because they’re not quantified or monetised – or are just too unpredictable. Investing in them too early could be seen as a diversion of resources and a distraction from core business that stakeholders might not initially recognise as being key to long-term business success.

But, for a business to be sustainable in the longer term, challenges and risks like these need to be acknowledged, fully understood and factored into strategic thinking. This can be hard to do, when so many companies focus on backward looking financial performance metrics rather than taking a broader holistic view of their total impact. The rise of integrated reporting may help, adding non-financial metrics to performance. But, for many organisations, public reporting is often separate from decision making – and the non-financial metrics can be hard to come by when many companies don’t have the right skills in place to identify them. For example, in 2012/13, the UK’s 60,000 business graduates outnumbered biology graduates 3 to 1, and engineering and physical science graduates 2 to 1.

The reality is that, in a world that needs to redefine how it does business, we need fit for purpose business models, more specialists generating the right data, and a little less short termism.

You can read more about CEOs’ views on sustainability issues and challenges, the implications for business, and new approaches to dealing with them in Sustainability - business success beyond the short term.


Malcolm Preston is Global Sustainability Leader for PwC, and leads a team of some 700 sustainability and climate change experts. Malcolm has a view on all aspects of sustainability from climate change to reporting, to supply chains to international development, and specialises in Total Impact Measurement & Management.


Developing tomorrow’s female leaders

Author: Agnès Hussherr, Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader. PricewaterhouseCoopers International

Agnes PicsSaturday 8 March marks International Women's Day. As we celebrate the achievements of women in the workforce and beyond, my advice for leaders is don’t limit your focus to the leadership gender gap; organisations also need to focus on developing the female leadership pipeline. 

We know that organisations the world over are currently challenged with a lack of women in leadership positions and concerned with the competitive and financial toll this could mean for their organisation.  I believe that to achieve sustainable change, CEOs must be committed to driving parallel efforts which tackle enhanced leadership diversity in conjunction with systemic change efforts targeting their workforce from day one.  Organisations need to be focused on developing talented junior women now for future leadership roles.  When talent rises to the top, everyone wins.

But to get this right organisations must first understand how to attract, develop and retain female millennial talent. 

Born between 1980 and 1995, female millennials make up a significant proportion of the current and future talent pool. Female millennials matter because they are more highly educated and are entering the workforce in larger numbers than any of their previous generations. Data from The World Bank indicates that 40% of the global labour force is currently female. Despite this, women remain scarce at the top with only 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs currently female. Yet, the female millennial has likely outperformed her male counterparts at school and at university and is the most confident of any female generation before her.  She considers opportunities for career progression the most attractive employer trait.  When it comes to the female millennial we really are dealing with a new era, both in terms of the make-up of the workforce she enters and the career mind-set with which she enters. 

PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey shows that a growing number of CEOs (63%) are concerned about the threat the availability of key skills presents to their growth prospects. Meanwhile, female millennials look set to form approximately 25% of the global workforce by 2020.  Attracting the best of these millennial workers is critical to the future of your business. And forming talent strategies tailored for this group will be a vital step to achieving the long-term aims and ambitions of any organisation.

When it comes to this new era of talent I believe there are a number of difficult questions that leaders must ask:

  • How well-prepared is your organisation to find, attract and keep tomorrow’s workforce – even as you deal with today’s talent challenges?
  • How are you adjusting your talent strategies to consider the female millennial?
  • Do you have the right talent structures in place to enable this talent segment to thrive?
  • How will you manage employees with different needs, aspirations and experiences from those of your own generation?

You can learn more about the challenges and opportunities the female millennial presents your organisation in our Next Generation Diversity: Developing tomorrow’s female leaders report. 

Agnès Hussherr

Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader. PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited and Banking & Capital Markets Assurance Partner, PwC France

For more about how PwC is changing the conversation about diversity and talent, please visit pwc.com/iwd.

Based in Paris, Agnès Hussherr joined PwC France in 1989 and became a partner in 2001. She is a client relationship partner in Assurance with clients in the banking industry. For the past four years, she has been PwC France’s Assurance Human Capital Leader and she was recently appointed as the firm’s Transformation Leader.

In her new role as Global Diversity Leader since July 1, 2013, Agnès will focus her efforts on bringing more diversity throughout the PwC network. She will also coordinate the Diversity & Inclusion initiatives for PwC’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and India region, as well as PwC France.


Looking to the long term – what’s the view like for CEOs of state backed enterprises?

Nick Jones_6559Author: Nick C Jones, Director of PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre

CEOs running organisations with state backing are typically taking a longer term view of their businesses and also a wider view of their impacts, according to the results of PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey. As noted by one of this year’s interviewees, Emilio Lozoya, CEO, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico: “The fact that we have one single shareholder – and that it is the state – gives us a very long-term planning horizon.”

In recent years, particularly with the onset of the financial crisis, the extent of state involvement in the private sector has become more noticeable. And this is reflected in this year’s Survey again, with nearly one in six of the CEOs surveyed in an organisation with some form of government ownership or backing. So how do the views of these CEOs differ from those with no state backing?

There’s one clear difference - state backed CEOs are relatively less confident in their prospects for revenue growth in both the shorter and longer term. This is perhaps reflected in the finding that relatively more CEOs in state backed organisations are expecting to reduce headcount, with over a quarter expecting to cut staffing by up to 8%, compared to one in six of the non-state backed CEOs surveyed. And there’s less focus looking ahead to the next 12 months on M&A and more on outsourcing and also insourcing – clearly it’s not all one way traffic for operations in state backed entities!

But there are also many similarities with non-state backed CEOs: for instance on perceptions of their key threats, where over-regulation comes out top of the list for both. There are also similarities in the ways that CEOs are getting fit for the future. Cost reduction initiatives are the most prevalent restructuring activity for state backed CEOs – in line with companies with no state backing.

And even more so than their counterparts fully in the private sector, CEOs running organisations with state backing see technological advances as having the potential to transform their businesses over the next five years, well ahead of the next trend – demographic shifts.

In response to these opportunities and threats, relatively more state backed CEOs seem to recognise the need to change, or are changing, across a range of areas: their organisation structure and design, corporate governance, R&D/innovation capacity, investments in technology and production capacity.

But in making these changes, relatively more state backed CEOs also see the need to satisfy societal needs and protect future generations as well as seeing it as important to measure and report on total (non-financial) impacts of their activities, such as on the environment. All of these elements are seen to contribute to long term success of their organisations.

This may perhaps also reflect their longer planning horizons, with about a third of state backed CEOs having a planning horizon of more than five years, compared to only about a fifth of their non-state backed counterparts. Even if there are downsides, perhaps having one shareholder – government – can indeed help state backed CEOs to focus on the long term!

Find out more in our report Government and the Global CEO: Fit for their Futures.

Nick Jones is the Global Director of PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre and has authored, and contributed to, reports on a wide range of public services issues. Nick is also a member of the Editorial Team for PwC's Annual Global CEO Survey, commenting on the relationship between business and government.


The missing innovation ingredient

Rob SheltonAuthor: Rob Shelton, Global Innovation Strategy Lead

Many companies have put in place the basic elements for successful innovation but lack one essential ingredient —collaboration. From our work with leaders and laggards, we know that companies stumble and fail to capture the benefits of collaboration for several reasons. Laggards use a traditional approach to partnering that is too slow and bureaucratic, and has an unattractive balance of risk-sharing. They lack a robust collaboration ecosystem because they rely on a narrow base or the wrong external partners. Laggards also fail to build their partnership capabilities. They assume effective collaboration just happens – and that’s definitely not true.

Leaders measure and provide incentives for collaboration and ensure their teams have best-practice approaches. I’ve heard more than one CEO say effective collaboration is key to successful, high-growth innovation.

So, how do leaders create high-octane collaboration? First, they make innovation a core competency.  Inside the company, innovation teams are cross-functional and interdisciplinary. This maximises the effectiveness of the resident talent. In addition, they use the right technologies to foster effective exchange. This includes enterprise social networking solutions for internal collaboration and public social media platforms for connecting with consumers and developing powerful insights.

Innovation leaders go a step further. They also ensure that the internal team collaborates with external partners to capture the lion’s share of the billion IQ points that exist outside of the company. And this happens across a broad spectrum of partnerships. PwC’s Global Innovation Survey 2013 shows that innovation leaders collaborate significantly more with an ecosystem of strategic partners, customers, suppliers and academics. In new business environments, they may even collaborate with competitors from other arenas.  PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey makes it clear that collaboration and strategic alliances are top-of-mind in the C-suite as they strive for greater growth.

CEOs are overhauling their strategies for partnering
Leaders have one more way to up the octane and deliver above-average growth.  They become the Partner of Choice in the external partner ecosystem. This allows them to become the strongest magnet for great ideas from suppliers, customers, consultants and other ecosystem partners. Partners preferentially bring ideas to the Partner of Choice because they believe the ideas will come to fruition. And they trust the Partner of Choice to deal fairly with partners.

As a result, the Partner of Choice has preferential access to partners for development, commercialisation and scaling. This yields faster, cheaper and better innovations, which drive above-average growth.  And it bedevils competitors because they can’t easily match or neutralise such significant competitive advantages.

Ask yourself: how effective is your innovation collaboration?  Is your innovation engine running on high-octane partnerships? Innovation leaders know that effective exchange of ideas, knowledge and resources— inside and outside the corporate campus—is the fuel that drives the innovation and growth engine.


Rob Shelton is PwC’s global leader for innovation strategy. He specialises in integrating breakthrough and incremental innovation—new business models and new technologies—into an organisation's strategy and operations to drive profitable growth.


Economic crime in 2014: What’s new under the sun?

PwC Global Forensics Services partner, Steven Skalak, reviews the results of our latest survey, maps the CEO connection, and explains why, in a connected world, economic crime is truly a borderless threat.
Steve SkalakThink of fraud as a virus. Not only is it probably as old as the human race, it’s also highly adaptable and opportunistic — shifting to ride the events, trends, natural disasters, and innovations remaking our world — and attacking at vulnerable points in your supply chain or distribution network.

In the connected world of 2014, one driven by the increasing use of technology in business functions and the rush of economic resources toward emerging markets, economic crime continues to loom large. At the same time, various government anticorruption statutes have elevated the efforts of regulators.

In this environment, I believe it’s more critical than ever to understand the variety of business processes threatened by economic crime, and the risks you face.

For more than a decade, PwC’s Forensics Services practice has done just that — tracking economic crime through periodic international surveys, and giving us valuable data points to help discern the new economic crime trends that are constantly emerging across sectors and industries.

Our 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey, just released, reveals that the various strains of economic crime — such as corruption and bribery, cybercrime, accounting fraud, IP infringement, or procurement fraud — continue to be major concerns for organisations of all sizes, across all regions, and in virtually every sector. Overall reported economic crime was up three percentage points, and reports of especially damaging categories of fraud — such as bribery and corruption, and cybercrime — increased, relative to our last survey, which was conducted in 2011.

One of the key findings of the survey is that as companies seek growth, they invest in markets that are less familiar to them — and thus frequently expose their employees to situations with inherent conflicts between the fundamental goals of making a profit and remaining compliant. Without strong CEO support and leadership, these situations can erode the integrity of employees.

Increasingly, CEOs are homing in on the threat to their organisations presented by economic crime. Our 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey (GECS) has some revealing tangents to our 17th Annual Global CEO Survey:

  • In a sign of how seriously boards and chief executives are taking both the financial and collateral damage from enforcement of statutes like the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act, more than half of CEOs (52%) surveyed in this year’s CEO Survey report being concerned about bribery and corruption.

Rising CEO concern re bribery & corruption

  • Underscoring this, nearly half of chief executives in the 17th CEO Survey (a sharp increase from 37% just a year ago) see a “lack of trust in business” as a key marketplace issue, with significant majorities recognising that business has a wider role to play in society than just building shareholder value.
  • On the cybercrime front, our Global Economic Crime Survey indicates that the perception of the risk of cybercrime is increasing at a faster pace than was reported in our previous survey — up to 48%, from 39% in 2011. An identical percentage (48%) of CEOs in our Global CEO Survey said they were concerned about cyber-threats, including lack of data security.
  • In many industries, intellectual property (IP) infringement and theft — which, depending on circumstances could be classified as asset misappropriation or cybercrime — is an especially crippling economic crime. And it’s very much on the minds of global CEOs, 43% of whom reported they are worried about being able to protect their IP, according to our latest Global CEO Survey.

In addition to outlining all the data from our survey, this year’s GECS report also offers an analytical look, grounded in our real-world experience, at how economic crime threatens your business processes — so you can address the key business issues from both a preventive and strategic perspective.

The perspective, in other words, of a chief executive.

If you’d like additional information on our 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey, including access to the full data and customised reports, please visit www.pwc.com/crimesurvey or contact me at [email protected] or on  +1 646-471-5950. 

Steven Skalak is an Advisory Services Partner in PwC's Forensic Services practice, based in New York. From December 2009 to June 2012 he was located in PwC’s Beijing office where he led the Forensic Team and the Advisory Consulting practice. Steven provides auditing, accounting, financial and investigative expertise to organisations litigating or arbitrating disputes, defending regulatory inquiries or investigations, and conducting internal investigations.



Why institutional leadership matters

Author: Blair Sheppard, Global Strategy and Leadership Development, PwC

Blair picI’ve taught leadership for thirty-two years and much of the emphasis remains to this day a question of how to create great entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs or Nandan Nilekani; political leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping or Nelson Mandela; or CEOs, such as Jack Welch.  There’s very little focus on institutional leaders; those who help sustain or adapt the institutions that make the rest of the world work.  Those who help create the context in which entrepreneurs, CEOs and politicians work.

Institutional leadership matters because institutions are essential to our development and success as a society, and to the conduct of our lives. Great societies have great institutions. Universities help create knowledge to advance productivity, capability and well-being, develop the next generation of citizens and leaders, and serve as a place for the evolution of ideas and effective criticism of the status quo enabling us to reflect and improve. Museums preserve history, our cultural origins and the nature of the broader natural order in which we exist.  Charities provide support to those in need, build a sense of community, create an organising centre for acts of generosity and kindness, and remind us how we behave at our best. Banks, insurance companies and the larger financial system allow the effective flow of capital, permit transactions, and provide the wherewithal to grow our businesses and livelihoods. In fact, the majority of CEOs in our latest Annual CEO Survey believe their business has a social as well as a commercial role.

But, just when we most need leaders focused upon improving the institutions that serve society, they feel absent. Scandal and ineffective leadership are seen throughout universities when our need to effectively educate our next generation of citizens and leaders is ever more pressing. And our financial system seems unable to deal with the requirements of the day with continuous headlines about leaders who seem corrupt or self-serving.

This isn’t just my observation. For only the second time since the Center for Public Leadership began surveying public confidence in leadership in 2005, Americans' confidence in their leaders rose slightly in 2012. Yet, despite this small rise, 69% of Americans still believe we have a leadership crisis.

So, how to help the institutions on which our society relies take up their responsibility and lead as the world needs them to? I believe a critical piece of this is to rediscover their purpose.

An institutional purpose is the answer to the question “why do I exist?” In dynamic times, any institution unable to answer this question is in danger of failing the society in which it operates: without understanding why you’re here, how can you best organise and serve those who rely on you? And, as an executive in one of these institutions, how do you know which decisions to take to ensure the best possible outcome for all your stakeholders? I believe all great institutions have a clearly defined purpose, and I’m dedicating these years of my career to helping PwC articulate ours. Clearly, there’s much more to institutional leadership, but a rediscovery of the answer to the question why is an important beginning.

Blair Sheppard joined PwC in June 2012 as Global Strategy and Leadership Development leader.  Blair leads the team who focus on strategy and leadership development for the PwC network, working closely with leaders of the lines of service, clients and markets, and PwC member firms. Read more.