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Experience Management

Despite looming recession, C-suite leaders are more confident about their own companies

Despite concerns about the economy, C-suite executives are more bullish about near-term revenue than they were a year ago. The vast majority of company leaders are concerned about inflation or a recession–or the combined effect of both–but expect to invest more this year in areas that will reap long-term benefits.

Qualtrics asked CEOs and other C-suite executives about what they expect in the next year, how they plan to handle a recession and the effects of COVID-19 on their business. Here’s what they said:

Leaders are concerned about the economy — but optimistic about the future of their companies

  • Most C-suite leaders (93%) are worried about a recession or some type of inflation
    • 40% are worried about stagflation, 34% about inflation and 18% about a recession. Only 8% said they’re not worried about any of these economic hurdles.
  • But the vast majority of leaders expect their companies’ revenue to continue increasing:
    • 80% said their company revenue increased in the last year, and 83% expect it to increase in the next. That’s up from 76% a year ago in July 2021.
    • About two thirds (66%) expect overall growth for their organizations, while only 59% did in July a year ago.
  • Leaders don’t seem to expect a long downturn. Most are more likely to use short-term cost-saving measures in the event of a recession:
    • The most common budget cuts would be to customer or client-facing travel and employee perks (40% of executives say they would cut spending in each category), followed by internal travel (36%)
    • Only 4% said they would reduce hiring plans, and less than a quarter said they would downsize their workforce
  • 40% of executives said the biggest threat to their companies’ success is the increased cost of supplies, similar to what they said a year ago. And more than half (54%) said they’re experiencing a supply chain reconfiguration. Other threats to success include:
    • New technology (37% said so)
    • Global political events (27%)
    • Workforce shortage (27%)
  • C-suite leaders believe what will have the biggest impact on their companies’ success is:
    • New technology (53% said so)
    • Innovation and new products (45%)
    • Increased operational efficiencies (42%)

Executives are taking a long-term view when planning where to invest

The vast majority of C-suite level executives (85%) expect spending to increase in the next year as their companies’ go through both a workforce and digital transformation.

  • The leading category for additional spending is technology modernization, with 73% of leaders planning to spend more.
  • 72% of executives say they’ll spend more on staffing/retaining their workforce, up from 62% a year earlier.
    • The majority of executives (66%) expect their employees to become more demanding in the next three months — up significantly from 56% in July 2021.
    • When it comes to the workforce, leaders’ first priority is retaining their top performers, followed by hiring new employees, then the productivity and engagement of their current employees.
  • The things they plan to spend on are:
    • Tech modernization (73% said so)
    • Cybersecurity (73%)
    • Staffing/retaining workforce (72%)
    • Training/reskilling workforce (70%)
    • Remote work support (70%) 

Executives don’t think we’re done with the business impact of COVID

COVID changed a lot about the way we work, but 38% of C-suite leaders say it has forever and fundamentally changed the way they do business (compared to 42% in July 2021). Forty-four percent, however, expect the business effects of COVID will be largely over by the end of the year (about the same percentage as last year). The remaining 18% expect their business will still be impacted at year’s end.

When asked about their priorities for this year and beyond, public health was most C-suite executives’ top priority, with 40% of executives identifying it as a 2022 priority, up from 35% in 2021. Their other priorities included:

  • Cybersecurity (38%)
  • Tax policy (38%)
  • Fiscal policy (38%)

As executives plan for an economic downturn and make tough decisions about spending, leaders remain positive about their own companies and are investing in areas that will lead to long-term success.


Learn more about experience management

Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics is the technology platform that organizations use to collect, manage, and act on experience data, also called X-data™. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action, used by teams, departments, and entire organizations to manage the four core experiences of business—customer, product, employee, and brand—on one platform.

Over 12,000 enterprises worldwide, including more than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 U.S. business schools, rely on Qualtrics to consistently build products that people love, create more loyal customers, develop a phenomenal employee culture, and build iconic brands.

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