Deloitte Survey: U.S. CEOs Limiting Global Growth

Despite a deep awareness of the need to find and retain skilled workers from any domestic or international location possible, many corporate leaders are shying away from doing business outside of North America.

According to Deloitte’s 2007 CEO Survey, many CEOs are excited about tapping overseas markets for talent, a trend that will increase over the next five years.

However, Deloitte calls it “counterintuitive” that CEOs’ interest in selling to overseas markets is waning, with more than 75% of CEOs saying North America represents the best opportunity for significant growth over the next five years.

The survey shows that 19% say the biggest threat to overall business growth is increased competition from emerging powers like China and India.

“Their interest in Asia Pacific dropped by half to 10% from last year — possibly due to intellectual property protection issues,” said Tony Kern, managing principal of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 program, in a release.

CEOs have chosen a variety of methods to protect their valuable intellectual property, the survey shows. According to the CEOs polled, 40% plan to restrict distribution of products to markets with a strong reputation for protecting IP. They also build in IP protection to minimize theft (38%), hire third-party specialists to advise them on IP protection (32%), and train staff on measures to reduce IP theft (32%).

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According to the survey, 45% of CEOs say their companies are turning to overseas talent and are currently offshoring. Another 55% say they plan to offshore in the next five years.

In fact, in five years, 30% plan to have up to 10% of their workers offshore; 27% plan to have up to 20% offshore; 19% expect to have up to 30% offshore; and 15% expect to have up to 40% offshore.

Overall, 43% of the CEOs said it was critical or very important to look overseas for talent. However, even in five years, CEOs envision the vast majority of the workforce will remain in North America.

The survey was conducted during the first quarter of 2007 by Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group. More than 125 CEOs responded to the survey.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


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