Around 47% CEOs in India compared to 46% CEOs globally are considering downsizing their workforce over the next six months, according to a report by KPMG.
About 33% CEOs in India and 39% CEOs globally have already implemented a hiring freeze, the KPMG 2022 India CEO Outlook says.
With an anticipated recession looming, there is a significant short-term emphasis on hiring freezes and headcount reductions, the survey says.
But when CEOs take a longer-term view, 79% CEOs in India and globally expect their organisation's headcount to increase over the next three years.
Untouched by recession worries, 66% CEOs in India, a much lower proportion as compared to 86% CEOs globally, anticipate a recession in the next 12 months.
As a result, only 55% of CEOs in India compared to 76% CEOs globally, are expecting and have planned for a recession. At the same time, 58% CEOs in India, the same as their global counterparts, feel the recession will be mild and short, the KPMG survey shows.
When asked about their confidence in the resilience of the global economy over the next six months, 82% CEOs in India were positive, up 42 percentage points from February 2022.
While CEOs in India may be resilient, they are also realistic about the challenges ahead. 62% CEOs in India compared to 73% CEOs globally believe a recession will upend anticipated growth over the next three years. A much lower proportion of CEOs in India at 56% compared to 75% CEOs globally believe a recession will make post-pandemic recovery harder. 86% CEOs in India compared to 71% CEOs globally predict a recession will impact company earnings by up to 10% over the next 12 months.
CEOs in India are comparatively less worried, when it comes to concerns around recession and its various aspects that could impact their business.
Pandemic fatigue, economic factors, including the threat of rising interest rates, inflation and anticipated recession and reputational risk, top the list of most pressing concerns for CEOs in India today.
CEOs in India indicate that geopolitical uncertainties will continue to impact their strategies and supply chains over the next three years. In fact, 75% CEOs in India compared to 81% CEOs globally have adjusted or plan to adjust their risk management procedures considering geopolitical risk, and 21% CEOs in India compared to 20% CEOs globally will be increasing measures to adapt to geopolitical issues to achieve their growth objectives.
50% CEOs in India compared to 37% CEOs globally plan to pause or reduce their digital transformation strategy in the next six months to prepare for an anticipated recession. 28% CEOs in India compared to 40% CEOs globally have already paused or reduced their digital transformation strategies.
On return to work plans, 65% CEOs in India as well as globally envision in-office as the go-to-office environment in three years' time.