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  • 15 March 2016 16:26

Research reveals key challenges facing Australian CEOs in 2016

• Pronto Software and The CEO Institute commission research, surveying 175 CEOs across the country • One quarter of respondents consider disruption and opportunity caused by technology to be one of the most significant trends they will face in 2016 • Adapting to change, managing staff and growth remain key concerns that plague CEOs in 2015 and 2016

15 March 2016 – Australian technology company, Pronto Software, has today released new research results in partnership with The CEO Institute, which reveal the key challenges and concerns facing Australian Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in 2016.

The survey was completed in January 2016 by more than 175 CEOs from various industries, including the resources, manufacturing, retail and imports sectors. This research follows similar research undertaken by Pronto Software and The CEO Institute in January 2015.

A comprehensive analysis of the 2016 survey showed five top concerns for CEOs, which are resulting from both industry and economic pressures:

1. Hiring and retaining talented staff: Nearly 30 per cent of CEOs highlighted staff management as an important challenge for the year ahead, including attracting, training and retaining staff. Additionally, keeping long-term existing staff energised and motivated was a cited area for focus. Interestingly, staffing attracted more feedback than any other issue.

2. Mastering disruptive technology: Just over one-quarter (26 per cent) of survey respondents considered disruptions and opportunities caused by technology to be one of the most significant trends they will face in 2016. Those CEOs who see technology as an opportunity tend to focus on how it will allow them to make large-scale changes to their business processes.

3. Business growth: In 2015, approximately one in five CEOs described growth as a key area of transformation and concern. One year later, that has grown to one in four (23 per cent of respondents). A common theme in this year’s discussions of growth was the impact on businesses of the apparent slowing of the Australian economy, with respondents calling out the need to manage a sluggish market.

4. Economic uncertainty: One in six (16 per cent) CEOs cited economic uncertainty as a key concern for 2016, and this anxiety is resulting in reduced business budgets and apprehension towards business spending. Interestingly, CEOs are also setting more conservative targets for success.

5. Managing change and improving processes: Managing change was noted as a major challenge for 15 per cent of respondents. Overall, the need for ‘change management’ was framed as a consequence of other trends, such as economic fluctuations, technological developments and international competition, particularly from Asia. Technology is also a key driver of the perceived need to manage change. However, CEOs were divided over the exact nature of the issue. Some saw change as a necessity in the face of existing technologies, while others spoke of harnessing innovation to drive real change.

When comparing 2015 and 2016 findings, adapting to change, managing and retaining staff, as well as business growth have remained as key concerns that continue to plague the minds of CEOs. The prevailing mood among surveyed CEOs was one of wary optimism. CEOs spoke of “maintaining momentum” and “achieving growth” even in the face of a myriad of threats.

Chad Gates, Chief Operating Officer, Pronto Software, said: “In my ongoing discussions with CEOs, technology is continually the trend that is perceived to be a threat, as well as a source of great opportunity.

“I urge business leaders to look at technology as the support required to help overcome these challenges identified by the research. By embracing a strong technological solution that’s flexible, CEOs and their teams can gain clarity regarding how their business is performing, transform underused data into actionable insights, and empower their teams to make better decisions. Technology can truly empower leaders, helping them navigate the company towards ongoing success.”

Access the 2015 research findings via this link.


About Pronto Software: Pronto Software has been developing award-winning business management software for 40 years. With an easy- to-use interface and in-built flexibility and intelligence,
its flagship Pronto Xi platform drives efficiency and performance improvements to businesses. Pronto Software prides itself on actively listening to customers and adapting its services to meet their needs to reveal the best solution.

About The CEO Institute: The CEO Institute was established to help business leaders connect with their peers and learn from them. It is Australia’s leading networking group for senior executives who want to be better informed and more effective business leaders. See

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Media Contacts: For more information, please contact: Jennifer Gillis OR Sarah Bullen at DEC PR +61 2 8014 5033

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