Greek top managers are most pessimistic about the future of the companies they control. Pessimism as a whole reigns among executives throughout the eurozone, but optimism prevails worldwide. This is the conclusion of the 15th survey of the global business elite, held traditionally by the consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers. The survey was conducted between September and December 2011 and executives of the 45 largest companies in Greece were interviewed.
They all state they are concerned about the future of Greece, not sure of the development of world economy and establish greater volatility in financial markets. Their counterparts in the eurozone are also concerned, but the world business elite are optimistic about the development of world economy, mainly due to the good results in emerging markets.
In Greece, however, the situation is radically different. Here the people managing large companies are uncertain not only in the near but in the distant future as their greatest problems are the lack of fresh money on the market and excessive taxes. The study reveals complete disappointment and lack of confidence in the policy of the Greek government. 93% of top managers simply do not believe that the Greek Government is able to cope with the problems of national economy. For comparison, this percentage was 85% in 2010.
They very strongly insist that the government should immediately begin to drastically cut the public sector to stabilize public finances and thus, to contribute to economic growth in the country. 59% believe the government's priority should be to stabilize the banking system, 46% - to tackle poverty and unemployment and 44% - to improve the infrastructure in the country. 82% of them oppose excessive taxes. In the eurozone, the rate of executive officers who do not agree with the tax system is only 46%. Taxes are one of the major causes for searching for new markets.
Due to the deep economic crisis, 90% of top managers have reconsidered their strategy for the development of companies they manage and explore new ways of risk management. 82% of them have taken the decision to invest capital, 79% - for capitalization, 90% have already made cuts in operating costs, and the next change in their strategy is outsourcing or transferring the activities in third countries. For executives, the skills of employees are vital to the success of the business as well as their productivity. Half of the respondents identify training of staff as a priority, in which they will invest more next year.
Unfortunately, 54% of managers admit that last year they resorted to job cuts in the companies they manage and 41% say that the cuts in their companies lie ahead. A year ago, 60% of the managers had already cut staff, while 36% planned to do this in 2011. These rates are high both in the eurozone and globally.
Even in a time of profound economic recession, the Greek business elite see opportunities for development especially in three areas - investment in new geographic markets, joint ventures or mergers with other companies, and increasing market share in countries where the companies are already present.