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Downsizing out, growth in, says IBM survey

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Downsizing is out and growth is in, according IBM's annual global CEO study. Of 456 CEOs interviewed, 80 per cent said their priority is to grow revenues, rather than to cut costs.

If the mood of a CEO is an accurate barometer of the economy, then the long-promised upswing could, indeed, be about to happen. Asia and China were highlighted by several participants as key new markets to exploit.

Many of the CEOs report that the spending cuts which they imposed in the last two years have done the job required; and that the time is right to invest in growth. Two thirds said growth will come from new products, and more than half said they plan to enter new markets in the next five years.

Despite a more positve outlook, most said their companies are not yet agile enough to pursue the opportunities in the market. Identifying opportunities and threats is not a problem, but deciding how to act takes too long.

While 90 per cent of the top execs said they needed to transform their businesses to compete, 60 per cent said that they and their staff lacked the skills neccessary to do so.T hree quarters said that the most important thing they could do to transform their businesses is to invest in employee education. ®

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