CEOs across the globe retrenching

According to a new survey by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers of CEOs from around the world, layoffs and outsourcing are the two main strategies being used by companies to stay afloat. PricewaterhouseCoopers' fifth annual Global CEO Survey, which interviewed 1,161 chief executives from Europe, Asia and the Americas, found that half of those CEOs report that they have laid off staff, with 46%

According to a new survey by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers of CEOs from around the world, layoffs and outsourcing are the two main strategies being used by companies to stay afloat.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' fifth annual Global CEO Survey, which interviewed 1,161 chief executives from Europe, Asia and the Americas, found that half of those CEOs report that they have laid off staff, with 46% of them also outsourcing non-core functions in response to the current economic environment.

Although those actions were a response to current economic pressures, the survey found that the CEOs do not expect them to be short-term fixes but instead view them as long-term adjustments to company strategy.

The study, unveiled last week at the World Economic Forum in New York, found that despite the economic slowdown and uncertainties surrounding the timing and strength of economic recovery, chief executives also believe abundant opportunities remain over the long term. For example, the survey found that CEOs have not cut back on research and development (82%) or curtailed expansion plans (76%) and have not closed plants or offices (76%).

"Companies are not taking knee-jerk actions to respond to current economic pressures," said Samuel A. DiPiazza Jr., CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers. "They are making strategic decisions, keeping their R & D programs intact, for example, while making long-term adjustments to the sizes of their workforces and outsourcing non-core functions."

However, the survey also found that CEOs have mixed views on issues related to globalization, with 44% of them believing that the anti-globalization protest movement does not pose a genuine threat to business in the 21st century, but one third of them believing it does indeed pose a threat.

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