Prospects and concerns
A positive view is a recurring theme throughout the survey. The overall level of concern has fallen, which is in congruence with CFOs also seeing slightly lower external uncertainty as well as more favorable business conditions. However, shortages of skilled labor have now developed into a major concern among CFOs.
There is a shift towards more expansive priorities, manifested as an increase in decisions to make operational investments by boosting capacity and expanding into new geographies.
Merger and acquisition (M&A) activities are considered a top priority within sectors such as TMT and Life Science. However, we note that its relative importance compared to other priorities has declined overall.
Concern about skilled labor shortages increased greatly and across sectors. Order intake remains the greatest concern, though easing somewhat. Macroeconomic/politically related factors fell for a second consecutive survey, which is in congruence with the CFOs’ view of more normal external uncertainty. Among sectors, TMT stands out with greater concern about order intake as well as skilled labor shortages, while the Manufacturing sector is the one where order intake is not the greatest concern (Manufacturing CFOs instead view fierce competition and pricing power as their main concern).
Number of employees
The majority of the CFOs still expect unchanged headcounts, whereas the percentage of CFOs expecting a decline has fallen slightly. Compared to other sectors Life Science shows a more positive outlook, expecting an increase in the number of employees.