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CEOs speed up digital push and downsize offices, KPMG survey shows

Tue, 25th Aug 2020 00:01

LONDON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Companies around the world have
moved more of their operations online, plan to reduce office
space and have made recruiting and retaining staff their top
priority since the coronavirus pandemic struck, a survey showed
on Tuesday.

A survey from accounting firm KPMG showed 80% of business
leaders had accelerated their digital expansion plans during the
lockdown as they adjusted to staff working remotely and dealing
with customers online.

There was uncertainty about the eventual scale of the shift
away from shared workspaces in favour of working from home but
69% were planning to cut their office space in the short term.

"Maybe some kind of hybrid finds its way into the new
everyday reality," Bill Thomas, KPMG International's global
chairman and chief executive said.

Seventy-three percent said the shift to working from home
had increased the pool of job candidates.

That could lead to teams that are more spread out globally
and interact more online.

"There's a comfort level with this that people have never
had before," Thomas said.

Talent risk - covering recruitment and retention as well as
the wellbeing and health of staff - had jumped from 11th to
first in a ranking of risks over the next three years for CEOs.

Following behind were risks relating to supply chains, as
trade tensions grow on the back of the pandemic, and
environmental and climate change risks.

The COVID-19 crisis has split CEOs over the three-year
outlook for the global economy with 32% saying they are less
confident than they were at the start of the 2020 and another
32% saying they are more confident.

In Britain, despite the uncertainty of trade terms with the
European Union after a post-Brexit transition period ends on
Dec. 31, CEOs were more bullish about their country's economy
than in all other countries apart from China and Japan.

KPMG surveyed 315 chief executives in Australia, Canada,
China, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United
States between July 6 and Aug. 5 as part of its CEO Outlook,
having initially spoken to 1,300 CEOs in January and February.
(Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)

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