Finance & Economics

Half of executives don’t see return to pre-pandemic life until 2022

The company polled 500 executives worldwide in February and March about their expectations for a 3-year period

CEO business

Half of executives don’t see return to pre-pandemic life until 2022. Source:

KPMG has published CEO Outlook Pulse Survey revealing that 45% of CEO do not expect to see a return to a ‘normal’ course of business until 2022. At the same time, 31% of them expect this will happen later in 2021. The changes prompted by the pandemic have resulted in one-quarter (24 percent) of CEOs saying that their business model has been changed forever by the global pandemic.

76% of CEOs see the government encouraging businesses to return to “normal” as an incentive for them to ask employees to return to work.

Meanwhile, 61% of global executives said they would also need to see a successful COVID-19 vaccine rolling out in key markets before taking any action to return to offices. Once employees are able to safely return to their jobs, a fifth of companies will try to introduce extra precautions by asking customers and other visitors to personally advise them of their vaccination status.

Furthermore, the study found that only 17% of executives worldwide are looking to reduce the size of their offices as a result of the pandemic. Another 69% of CEOs surveyed in August 2020 said they plan to cut their office space within 3 years.

Due to the COVID, only 3 in 10 global executives are considering a hybrid work model for their workforce, with most employees working remotely 2-3 days a week.

Consequently, only 21% of businesses are looking for talent who work mostly remotely. It is a large difference from 73% in 2020.

Before any major decisions are made, CEOs want to be confident that their workforce is protected against this virus. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is providing leaders with a dose of optimism as they prepare for a new reality. CEOs are scenario planning for certain key markets that may experience vaccine shortages that could impact their operations, supply chains, and people, leading to uneven economic recovery
Bill Thomas, Global Chairman and CEO at KPMG

We’ve reported that 3 in 4 UAE SMEs optimistic about business recovery.


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