Optimism is returning

Companies are more prepared than reported in 2023 to face an uncertain future

Last year, survey respondents emphasized the sense of uncertainty brought about by the global pandemic, geopolitical turmoil, and economic instability in many markets, with many businesses struggling to attract and retain the talent they needed to grow.

This year, business leaders and experts are much more confident. Seventy-three percent say their companies are prepared to handle unforeseen economic or geopolitical changes, up by 14 points from last year.

This confidence is due in part to the fact that businesses have successfully navigated a series of unprecedented challenges over the past several years. “Coming out of COVID, people are a lot more optimistic,” says Richard Matchett, digital lead at Zutari, an infrastructure engineering and advisory practice. “We’ve had a year now to figure out which way is up.”

Companies are also proactively improving their positions, taking steps such as planning new offerings, entering new markets, increasing agility, and diversifying supply chains. The more of these steps that a company takes to boost resilience, the more confident leaders feel about the future (see chart on page 12: “The connection between resilience and preparedness”).

Businesses are also performing better and keeping pace with their competition. Seventy-two percent of leaders and experts say their companies outperformed expectations last year, representing a 14-point jump from the year before. And just 7% say that their company is not keeping up with the rate of change in their industry this year, down from 11% a year ago.


drop in the number of leaders and experts who say the global landscape feels more uncertain now than 3 years ago

Company performance is improving

Percentage of businesses that outperformed corporate expectations.

Survey question: How has your company or organization performed compared to corporate expectations in each of the last 3 years? In 2020, in 2021, in 2022. Top two=above average performance.

Continue exploring this insight

Optimism returns: Global

Optimism returns: AECO

Optimism returns: D&M

Optimism returns: M&E