Thai corporate confidence shaky

Thai corporate confidence shaky

Reskilling and upskilling chief concern of executives locally and globally, according to Worldcom Confidence Index

Global corporate confidence continues its slow but gradual improvement, yet the mood in Thailand remains very downbeat, according to the Worldcom Confidence Index (WCI).

The latest August survey showed Thailand executives' confidence level ranked 26th out of 31 countries surveyed, said the multinational public relations group. The country's index score was 16.45, compared with 22.15 for the US, which topped the table, followed by India, Britain, Canada and Australia. The global average was 18.45.

The Worldcom research project utilises a unique approach powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to track sentiment and engagement of C-Suite executives at 54,000 businesses around the world, based on views expressed in executives' public social media and blog posts.

While previous editions of the WCI included research into the confidence of chief executives and chief marketing officers of major Thai enterprises, August was the first month in which Thailand-specific results were calculated and ranked.

"While confidence in the country remains low, the slight uptick in global confidence is encouraging," said Tom Van Blarcom, managing director of TQPR Thailand, the Worldcom Public Relations Group's partner in the country.

"The data shows four consecutive months of global improvement since April when Covid-19 severely impacted global business confidence. It shows world business leaders are focusing on how they can continue to work and get things done during the pandemic."

The AI tool developed for the survey interprets and calculates engagement and confidence related to various topics of relevance to businesses. It can provide insights into what leaders are talking about, but also their confidence or concern in addressing each topic.

The key topic that attracted the most global attention from executives in August was "upskilling and reskilling". This was followed by "retaining talent", "impact and role of media" plus "reducing plastic and other sustainability issues".

In Thailand, upskilling and reskilling also attracted the most executive attention, followed by "impact and role of media", "reducing plastics and other sustainability issues", and "retaining talent".

From this data, employees with the right skills are seen as the most important to the recovery from the pandemic. Leaders also see the media and how it influences success as important, while sustainability issues remain high in leader engagement. Organisations will need to communicate how they are addressing sustainability issues if they want to protect and enhance their reputation.

"It's clear that if organisations want to retain their best talent, they will need to communicate clearly how they will ensure their employees have the skills needed to succeed in a changed world," said Todd Lynch, managing director of the Worldcom PR Group.

"It's also clear leaders need to have a clear strategy for addressing reputation issues relating to employees, the media, sustainability and customers if they want to emerge stronger from the pandemic."

The latest WCI report also includes results for 11 industry sectors. Thailand is one of four countries with the highest confidence in the financial sector out of all sectors per country.

Regional confidence and concern levels highlight the different reactions to the pandemic around the world. Leaders in Asia were more confident than their peers in two sectors: communications services and consumer discretionary spending. Leaders in North America were more confident than their peers in six sectors: energy, healthcare, information technology, materials, real estate and utilities.

Leaders in Africa were more confident than their peers in three sectors: consumer staples, financials and industrials. Leaders in Europe were more confident than their peers in only one sector -- energy -- with the same score as North America. Leaders in Latin America -- the region with the lowest confidence levels -- were more concerned than their peers in five sectors: consumer staples, healthcare, industrials, information technology and real estate.

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