Chief Executives in GCC anticipate another year of growth

17 April 2024 3 min. read
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Business truly is booming in the GCC region, according to all indications. A remarkable 96% of business leaders in the C-suite project revenue growth for 2024, according to a survey of CEOs from human capital firm Cooper Fitch.

While the vast majority of CEOs in the GCC expect a good year, actual estimates on revenue increases are not quite uniform. According to the study, around one in ten respondents expects income to rise by 1-4% this year, 38% are anticipating an uptick of 5-10%, 29% are forecasting growth of 11-20%, and 19% believe it will be more than 21%.

Respondents in the UAE were significantly more optimistic than their counterparts in Saudi Arabia. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are locked in a rivalry, vying for foreign investment and each pushing to diversify their economies more quickly than the other as they both attempt to leave fossil fuels in the past.

How do you view the potential for revenue growth in 2024

Source: Cooper Fitch, CEO report

More than half of regional CEOs reported that their growth strategies for 2024 are mostly focused on penetrating new markets and expanding products and services. Strategy priorities were largely the same as last year.

In another sign of strong performance and a positive outlook, only a mere 3% of CEOs said they would be prioritizing significant cost-cutting measures as a path to growth during the coming year.

What is the primary strategy your organisation plans to employ for growth in the year 2024

Source: Cooper Fitch, CEO report

When is comes to non-financial objectives for 2024, 33% of respondents said that they were planning to focus on customer service. This is more than the previous year, when only 18% noted that as a focus.

Another considerable focus this year will be on employee engagement, with 29% of respondents noting more action in this area as an objective in the coming year. That is up from 22% last year.

“According to data released by the World Bank, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are estimated to have grown by 1% in 2023,” said Jack Khabbaz managing partner at Cooper Fitch. “Analysts expect this figure to rise to 3.6% this year and to 3.7% in 2025, supported by sustained private consumption, strategic fixed investments and accommodative fiscal policy within the region’s non-oil sectors.”

What is the primary non-financial objective for your organisation  in 2024

Source: Cooper Fitch, CEO report

A previous analysis from Cooper Fitch found that CEOs expect good performance to bump up their personal financials too, with over half of the chief executives anticipating a higher bonus this year.

The optimism from GCC leaders comes despite desperate outlooks on the global economy with many fearing inflation, geopolitical chaos, and supply chain disruption. In most other parts of the world, outlooks are not so rosy.

A large part of that optimism might come from promising government strategies in the GCC countries, like Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, which will see the country shift completely away from oil within this decade. The UAE has a similar initiative and other parts of the GCC are following suite.