Mazars 2021 C-suite barometer: top executives ready to respond to trends and transformations ahead

• International business leaders see transformations in technology (68%) and sustainability strategies (62%) most likely
• ESG topics are on the top of their agenda and most companies have three quarters plan to boost investment in sustainability initiatives
• Swiss executives do agree that technology and economic trends will be most important

Geneva, 5 April 2022: Mazars, the international audit, tax and advisory firm, released its 2021 C-suite barometer. This report is the result of an in-depth survey conducted in Q4 2021, which took the pulse of over 1,000 executives from 39 countries around the world. 

Tech and sustainability transformations ahead

The survey shows that leaders expect to transform their businesses, with technology and sustainability-related transformations being the most likely: nearly two thirds (62%) expect to transform their sustainability strategy in the coming years, second only to technology transformation (68%). Swiss executives do agree that technology and economic trends will be most important. However, Swiss leaders are more likely to predict that geopolitical trends will affect their business and less likely to highlight changing governance/ethics expectations.

Illustration 1: transformations in sustainability and technology most likely

A sense of confidence and resilience

Businesses are confident they can respond to the trends ahead: 94% are confident they can respond to trends in technology/innovation; 91% are confident in responding to expectations for governance, ethics and social responsibility; and 90% are confident responding to new or higher regulatory requirements. And most (88%) believe they have the resilience to weather a crisis. In the face of increasing cyber risks, most (68%) are confident their data is completely protected. 

ESG on the C-suite agenda: time to turn intent into actionable strategies

Businesses expect to transform their sustainability strategies, boost investment in sustainability initiatives, and are making public commitments on a range of ESG topics. Clearly ESG is in focus for C-suite. In Switzerland, funding concerns are a relatively minor obstacle to ESG investment. Globally they’re the top issue; in Switzerland they’re at the bottom. Waste reduction is the second-highest environmental priority for global leaders, in Switzerland it’s not amongst the first tree priorities.

Illustration 2: commitments to ESG topics

From strategy to action

To tackle the transformations expected, make the most of investments planned and deliver on commitments, particularly related to ESG, businesses need to move beyond planning and intent into action. To do this they need the right programmes in place, and the right people with the right skills. Nearly two thirds (63%) say Covid-19 has changed the future leadership styles their organisation needs, but most (88%) believe that have the skills they need. Swiss leaders are as confident as their global peers that their companies have the skills needed to tackle medium-term trends. Nevertheless, adapting to remote work and IT security are the top long-term changes for Swiss executives because of the pandemic.

Illustration 3: skills needed and leadership

About the survey  

The Mazars C-suite barometer was designed and conducted by GQR Research, in collaboration with Mazars. The data was gathered via an online survey between 24 September 2021 and 25 October 2021. The total sample is N=1,130, with 1096 sourced from online panels and 34 invited via email directly from Mazars.