UK bosses are among the 'most confident' in the world

Office workers in the UK Nearly two-thirds of bosses in the UK said they were planning to recruit in 2014

Chief executives in the UK are among the most confident in the world, research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found.

It said 93% of the country's bosses were confident about their company's financial prospects for the next year, compared to 78% in 2013.

Nearly two-thirds of chief executives in the UK were planning to take on more staff in 2014, the survey said.

This compares to an average of 50% globally, it found.

Only bosses in Taiwan, Korea and the Middle East were more likely to hire new recruits in the same time period, according to the report, unveiled at the World Economic Forum, in Davos.

Ian Powell, chairman of PwC UK, said: "Companies right across the UK are moving beyond the private optimism they've been expressing in the boardroom to real activity in the market."

But he said the upturn bought its own challenges, as UK businesses needed new strategies to make them "fit for the future in a fiercely competitive global market".

'Tough battle'

PwC also found almost three-quarters of UK bosses were planning to carry out cost reductions in 2014, which it said showed that growth "did not mark the end of austerity" for businesses.

Mr Powell criticised the low proportion, at 5%, of chief executives who were looking to new export markets for their business growth, which was below the 14% average for bosses globally.

He said UK businesses "paid too little attention" to the longer-term potential of new growth markets.

"At a time when, for example, China is rebalancing its economy towards consumption and imports, UK business needs to raise its sights and forge new relationships, or face a tough battle to regain lost ground.

"We have many world class businesses across sectors from retail, to business services, to speciality engineering, which are ideally placed to compete on the international stage", he said.

When asked what would be the biggest factors behind change in the coming years, 82% of Britain's bosses said advances in technology would have the most impact.

They said shifts in economic power and demographic changes would also impact their businesses.

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