pwcBusiness Report writes that this year for the first time since 2010, more SA businesses are expecting to reduce the number of their staff than to increase them.

This was revealed in the latest edition of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global annual survey on the outlook of chief executives. The PwC’s 24th Annual Global CEO report, released on Wednesday, indicated that only 16% of local businesses (compared to 42% in 2020) expected to increase their headcount over the next 12 months, while 40% of SA chief executives (compared to 21% globally) planned to reduce their staff in the year ahead. “The proportion of South African chief executives expecting to reduce staff has exceeded those expecting to increase it for the first time — and by a margin of 25 percentage points. This is unprecedented in the history of the survey,” the report indicated. Only 43% of organisations, compared to 35% globally, expected their headcount to remain the same. The report added that it was concerning that given SA’s rising inequality and unemployment challenges that 51% of SA chief executives compared to 37% globally had reduced staff in the past 12 months The report surveyed more than 5,000 chief executives in 100 countries, including 37 SA chief executives, between January and February 2021. The report also found that 73% of SA chief executives were concerned about unemployment compared to 21% among their global peers.

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